Campus / News / Student Senate / May 13, 2009

Green Fee lost and found

Recently, students whose Green Fee proposals passed in Student Senate went to the Campus Life Office to ask about when they would receive payment from the budget, allegedly only to be told by Student Activities Coordinator Jenn Snider that no one knew where that money was.

After the forming of the Student Senate Sustainability Committee in the 2007-2008 academic year, this is the first year the Green Fee budget has been included in student tuition. The Green Fee costs students $5 per term, and money from the fee goes toward “services and products which directly increase the sustainability of Knox College,” as stated on the school website.

Senior Sam Bouman, who was part of creating a Knox bike-sharing program that would use Green Fee money, said he continually asked Snider when the program would get money for the bikes they requested. “The way she put it to me was something like, ‘We don’t know where the Green Fee money comes from,’” Bouman said.

When asked about the matter, Snider said that the money was in the total budget for the school year initially, but that it was placed with the general student activity fee, so there was confusion about where it was. “I did not say it was lost,” said Snider. “We just didn’t know which [part] of the budgets it was in.”

Secretary of Campus Life Office Cindy Wickliffe said, “No, [the money] is not lost. It’s in a special account.” It was only placed into this special account last week. She also said that the confusion about the money’s location resulted from the budget division at the beginning of the year.

At the beginning of each year, budgets for organizations such as Union Board get separated from the total student activity fee account, and because this is the first year in which the Green Fee has been implemented, it took longer for it to be put into its own account. “We always knew where it was,” said Wickliffe. “We just hadn’t moved it into a special account yet.”

Although there have been some requests that have taken months to fill, Wickliffe said the only thing she needs before processing a Green Fee allocation is the approval from Student Senate. “It can be immediate,” she said, referring to the time between senate’s approvals and getting a request filled.

In terms of the bike-sharing program, head of Senate Sustainability Committee and senior Rachel Deffenbaugh said, “[The bike-sharing] was approved more than a month ago. I have no idea why it took so long for them to get their money.” She also said that once an approval is made in senate, she does nothing else on the matter.

While the bike-sharing program has been requesting money for months, she said the reason the money took so long was because she just received that request last week. This leaves the question of why it might take so long for something that has already been approved to end up at Wickliffe’s desk.

Associate Dean for Campus Life Craig Southern said, “We ordered the bikes this week.” Also, on the matter of making sure the process goes quickly from senate to the Campus Life Office, he said, “We have to figure out if students should come into [the] Campus Life [Office] to confirm proposals.” He also mentioned that the “newness” of the Green Fee might be why there was so much confusion this year.

Southern proposed that once Student Senate passes a proposal to use the Green Fee budget, senior and head of the Senate Sustainability Committee Rachel Deffenbaugh could send the actual proposal to the Campus Life Office, and those who work in the office will then work with the students who made the proposal.

The total amount of money in the Green Fee budget at the beginning of the academic year was $18,865. Though there is no specific remainder has been calculated as yet, the largest sums taken out of the fee this year so far have been the bike-sharing program with $3,500, International Club using $2,500 to pay for programs for I-fair, and The Knox Student requesting $651 for newspaper racks that have yet to be ordered. The bike-sharing program has only used $1,930.85 of its budget thus far, with most of the rest planned to be spent on accessories such as helmets and baskets.

Annie Zak

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