Your Main Point piece in The University Star Volume 108, Issue 07 from October 9, 2018 titled “Students should have more say over tuition fees” has a major factual oversight. In the article, you state that “[o]ut of these 13 fees, only one fee, the student service fee, is under the jurisdiction of students on how it is delegated and spent.” This is wrong.
The $1 environmental fee that you reference in the previous paragraph is also a student-delegated fee. This may seem like an insignificant point, but I cannot stress the importance of that $1. Formally, this is the “Environmental Service Fee” also known as the Green Fee. Although this is the smallest fee that students pay for, the impact is enormous.
It was a student-led effort that led to the passing of the Environmental Service Fee Bill in the State of Texas Legislature in 2003 during the 78th Legislative session with Senate Bill 1230. Our school led the state in enacting legislation of this kind. Since that time, dozens of Texas schools have followed suit. The fee was later ratified by a vote of the student body and approved by the Board of Regents.
The Environmental Service Fee costs each student only $1 per semester. This goes into a fund that is administered by the Environmental Service Committee (ESC). The ESC is governed by a board of students, faculty, and staff, but most significantly, the Chair is always a student. Therefore, the Environmental Service Fee is “delegated and spent” by students.
The ESC has made a significant impact on our campus environment in the short time that is has been around. Programs like Bobcat Blend Composting and Bobcats Go Green game-day recycling would never have existed without the ESC. Other notable achievements include the many water bottle refill stations you can find in the academic buildings around campus, the solar phone chargers in the bus stations, and the bird nests that are attached so some of our trees.
The ESC is currently seeking proposals for future projects from students, faculty and staff. Any group on campus can make a proposal intended to increase the environmental sustainability of Texas State as long as it is not already being done by some other sector of the university. For more information and to apply for an environmental grant go to: www.txstate.edu/esc/.
Graduate Student in Sustainability Studies