SAGE fee proposed to ASUA

Taylor Avey

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona will receive an update from the program for Students Advancing Green Enterprises Fund about the need for a new sustainability fee.

ASUA will meet in the Ventana room of the Student Union Memorial Center at 5 tonight.

One aspect of UA President Robert Shelton’s tuition and mandatory fee increase proposal, submitted late last week, proposes a bid for a new sustainability fee which students do not currently pay. If the Arizona Board of Regents approves the fee initiative, students would be asked to pay $12 each semester.

Lon Huber, a first-year graduate student in the Eller College of Management and chairman for the Students Advancing Green Enterprises Fund is scheduled to give a presentation about the need for the fee at tonight’s ASUA meeting.

According to  the fee summary from the Students Advancing Green Enterprises Fund, the fee will help generate more renewable energy on campus, reduce the cost of electricity, create new energy-efficient projects and reduce waste systems, among other things.

“”This isn’t going to fund little feel-good projects like banners and trash cans,”” Huber said. “”It’s going towards transforming this campus.””

Huber plans to present the fee summary to ASUA to gain its support, which Huber hopes will persuade ABOR to approve the fee.

“”It’s the only fee that pays for itself,”” Huber said. “”Students are going to have to pay for the rising electricity costs either way, whether its student-controlled or through tuition.””

If ABOR approves the proposed fee initiative, it could reduce the UA’s electricity costs and save close to $18 million over the next 20 years, according to Huber.

Huber said the fee would also provide students with the opportunity to fund their own projects.

If students wanted to create energy-efficient projects, such as installing solar panels in their dorms, then those funds would be provided by the fee, Huber said.

Steven Otero will also be appointed as the director of the Arizona Students’ Association, according to Emily Fritze, executive vice president for ASUA.

Otero said in an e-mail that he is excited for the opportunity to serve as the new director and looks forward to “”ensuring that the voices of my peers are heard through the halls of the state legislature as the recession and budget crisis weigh heavily on all of our lives.””