SGA passed an initiative project that will be implemented within 4 years to create environmental improvement and increase awareness of sustainability on campus.
David Simmons, sophomore at The University of Memphis and environmental committee chair of SGA, proposed the environmental bill to make changes to the 2007 initiative project.
“We need to make a greater [effort for] sustainability on campus and different ways to think outside of the box instead of setting recycling centers on campus [like we have currently],” said Simmons.
In 2007, students at the University of Memphis initiated a sustainability plan to preserve earth’s resources and support an eco-friendly environment. It is a five-goal mission to integrate urban life into the university's curriculum, including the current green fee initiative.
At the University of Memphis, the green fee is $10 for full-time students. That payment is part of tuition, making it a requisite for all students enrolled in 12 or more credit-hours. The UofM sports over $200,000 for its green fee budget, a fraction of what larger schools boast – such as the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s over $800,000.
“I’m going to try my hardest to raise the green fee,” Simmons said. “It’s possible to raise the green fee to help sustainability.”
The final piece of the bill mentioned more recycling centers on campus. The university currently has 15 recycling stations and one recycling zone, but neither are accessible to all students. Simmons and his committee created a four-year plan that will promote the initiative.
By spring 2022, the Department of Earth Science and Office of Sustainability will be requested to promote and offer courses of these measures on social media. A petition for all Registered Student Organizations to develop a sustainability plan that will go into effect fall 2023. In 2024, it will be requested to create more options for recycling. These bills will not cost any funding from SGA since funding will come from the university.
Simmons and his committee will also be working with other RSO organizations to develop inexpensive ways to improve sustainability on campus.
“We decided to do things that would not cost the SGA budget,” Simmons said. “Facilitating and having student engagement through social media doesn’t cost anything.”