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By Gus Bode

The ‘green’ fee proposal supported by an overwhelming majority of students during spring student elections remains delayed in the process to become reality, with some students and administrators disagreeing about how the money should be spent.

The main subject of contention is the salary of a ‘sustainability coordinator’ who would take responsibility for projects funded by fee.

Undergraduate Student Government will voice its opinion on the ‘green’ fee proposal Wednesday. The organization was scheduled to vote on the proposal at its Nov. 19 meeting but delayed because of concern about where money for the proposed $10 fee could be headed.


Jon Dyer, co-coordinator of Project Eco-Dawgs, said a sustainability coordinator is essential to supervise projects funded by the roughly $300,000 to $350,000 the fee is expected to generate. While the fee was not meant to fund that position, Dyer said all options must be considered.

Dyer said he is not sure why USG senators continue to be skeptical of the fee, even after it received 996 out of 1,368 total votes during USG elections in April. Though USG approval is not necessary for the fee to pass, Dyer said he would like to have the senators’ support.

That support might not come without a clear definition of how the money will be spent, senators said at the organization’s last meeting.

Dave Loftus, a senator representing the south side of Carbondale, said much of the senators’ apprehension centered around the sustainability coordinator position.

‘I think Project Eco-Dawgs have great ideas and the ‘green’ fee is one of those, but it has to be used properly,’ Loftus said. ‘I think the USG will pass the fee but with a resolution that money only be used for green initiatives.’

But the administrator in charge of the task force to develop the fee said the sustainability coordinator position should not be a sticking point.

Larry Dietz, vice chancellor for student affairs, said administrators would be much more likely to support the ‘green’ fee proposal if money from the student fee, rather than university funds, paid that administrator’s salary.


‘If students are interested in the fee, then they shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater over this staffing issue,’ Dietz said. ‘The coordinator would not be full time and would not eat up a big chunk of that fee.’

Dietz said administrators and students are still discussing the options on how to pay the position.

‘Someone needs to coordinate all of this, and it would only take a modest amount of this fee to staff the effort,’ Dietz said. ‘The person would have a campus-wide reach on issues related to the ‘green’ fee, which in my estimation, would more than compensate for any money spent on the position.’

Dyer said he would be at Wednesday’s meeting to present information on the green fee and hopes for a large student turnout.

But he said some of the questions asked by Loftus and other senators might remain unanswered.

‘If all they want is to know whether some of the fee will go to the coordinator, then I still won’t be able to tell them because we are still talking with administrators,’ Dyer said.

Loftus said the student-supported referendum said nothing about the fee paying for an administrative position. He promised the senate would fight to make a resolution protecting the students’ money.

After the proposal passes through USG, Dietz said the it would be reviewed by his office, interim Chancellor Sam Goldman and SIU President Glenn Poshard. Dyer said he hopes the Board of Trustees can hear the proposal in its February meeting and vote on it during its April meeting.

Jeff Engelhardt can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected]