University of Illinois students started organizing an initiative to bring alternative energy projects to campus. These students wanted to accomplish this by initiating a student fee and forming a committee to increase environmental stewardship, inspire change, and impact students. By using student money to support alternative projects, they hoped to give students a voice in campus energy issues.
A $2 per semester non-refundable student fee for Cleaner Energy Technologies (CETF) was approved by a student referendum.
The intent of CETF is to provide renewable energy as a portion of the campus energy portfolio and reduce campus energy consumption. The types of projects to be considered include wind power, solar energy, and other renewable technologies such as hydrogen, biomass, and geothermal systems. A portion of the funds may be used for campus energy efficiency projects such as energy audits of campus building systems.
After campaigning by University of Illinois students, $5 per semester refundable student fee called the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee (SCEF) was approved by referendum of the student body by the Board of Trustees.
SCEF finances a wide variety of sustainability initiatives including sustainable campus development, green buildings, energy efficiency, sustainable resource purchasing, education, and campus engagement in order to create a more sustainable campus environment. This fee helps the University of Illinois align its operations and academics with the principles of sustainability.
The Student Sustainability Committee officially approved the first projects to be funded using CETF and SCEF. Since then, SSC has continued to fund projects that promote lasting, positive institutional change at the University of Illinois.
Students passed a referendum that raised the refundable Sustainable Campus Environment Fee from $5 to $14.
The measure passed by 77% approval and established University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign as having the largest sustainability funding pool of its kind in the United States.
The Sustainable Campus Environment fee was made non-refundable by the University of Illinois administration. It was reduced for $14.00 to $12.06 so that the annual revenue of the committee would be approximately the same.
Students passed the referendum to renew both the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee ($12.06) and the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee ($2.00) by 82% and 87% respectively.
Today, the Cleaner Energy Technologies fee remains at $2.00 and the Sustainable Campus Environment fee remains at $12.06. Each year, these two fees allow SSC to allocate just under $1.1 million to projects that promote the University’s goals laid out in the Illinois Climate Action Plan and directly impact University of Illinois students through improved infrastructure, services, and educational events.