Florida Takes the Green Fee to the Next Level

January 17, 2009 at 1:02 am Leave a comment

2009: Year of the Green Fee

After saying goodbye to 2008, the Florida Green Fee Coalition set dead aim on 2009 with big plans for the state legislature.  A student created bill went through the legislative drafting process and is poised to be used in the upcoming March legislature session.  With the bill in hand, students have been contacting their state leaders and putting the Green Fee on the political map.

On Friday January 16th students are traveling to Fort Meyers to give a presentation and solicit support from the Florida Student Association (FSA), a group consisting of the student government presidents and staff from the Florida universities.

With the March legislative session readily approaching, the coalition is trying to find sponsorship within the state senate and house.  Students have contacted key state members throughout the course of the campaign, and a breakthrough is hopeful.

Currently, in a special session, the legislature is making decisions that will likely cut funding to many educational budgets across the state.  Now more than ever the coalition is pushing for the green fee, not only so sustainability can remain economically viable on college campuses, but also to show that students care enough of about these issues to put their money where their mouth is.  Look for more exciting information in the coming weeks.

Florida Green Fee humble beginnings

The campaign for a statewide green fee has been underway for over 2 years.  Students at the University of Florida got together in the fall of 2006 with the desire to create a more environmentally friendly UF.  The student group Gators for a Sustainable Campus promoted and worked hard to gauge student support for a green fee on their campus, culminating in a victory in the spring 2007 student government election.  UF students supported the creation of a green fee with 78% of the vote.

In the proceeding months, other schools from around the state began to start similar campaigns on their college campuses, and the Florida Green Fee Coalition was formed.  Coming together for a common goal and putting aside usual intra-state school rivalry, students worked tirelessly to advance the cause.  And in the spring of 2008, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and New College of Florida all passed referendum with 67%, 70%, and 80% respectively.  More schools joined the campaign, with new programs set up at USF, FAU, and UWF.

Emboldened by the successes at Florida campuses, the coalition moved the campaign to the state level.  Campus leaders along with Southern Energy Network organizers met in Miami in October of 2008 to discuss strategy and tactics in the coming months.  With the holiday season fast approaching, students took a much-needed break but were looking forward to move full speed ahead in the New Year.

Blog Submitted By: Zak Keith, Florida Green Fee Coordinator

Entry filed under: direct action, florida, renewable energy, southeast, southern energy network. Tags: , , , .

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