By Anne Button
Auraria students voted last week to pay more in fees for a “greener” campus, and a greener way to travel to campus.
Students from Metro State, University of Colorado Denver and Community College of Denver went to the polls on April 11-14, voting to extend—and increase the fees for— both the RTD Student Pass Program and the Sustainable Campus Program.
The Auraria Board of Directors in February approved the two referenda questions for student vote.
The RTD Student Pass Program allows for Auraria Campus students to ride almost all RTD buses and Light Rail by showing a valid student ID. The estimated cost of the RTD Student Pass Program for the 2011-12 academic year will be $70 per student per semester. This is a $9 increase from the 2010-11 per-semester fee. A similar pass for the general public that provides as much access would cost about $700 per semester.The Auraria/RTD agreement price is based on actual ridership numbers calculated by RTD, which determined that Auraria student ridership had increased 12 percent in the past year.
Per the agreement, the student body must vote each year on whether to continue the program. A 2010 student referendum allowed for a one-year renewal of the RTD Pass Program agreement.
Metro State, CCD and UCD students cast a combined 2,363 votes. The vast majority (94.3 percent) were in favor of continuing the program and increasing the fee.
The Sustainable Campus Program (SCP) was established in 2007 with the goal of reducing the Auraria’s dependence on fossil fuels and the ecological impact of the campus overall. It built upon the Clean Energy Fee initially passed by the Auraria Campus student body in 2004.
As a result of the SCP, the Auraria Campus now offsets 100 percent of its electrical use with renewable energy credits, placing the campus 13th in the nation and first in the state for green power purchased by higher education institutions. In addition, the SCP has diverted almost 40 percent of campus waste from the landfill through a campus-wide single-stream recycling program, initiated a number of lighting and water retrofit projects to reduce campus electricity and water use, launched a composting program in the Tivoli, and will bring a 35 kW solar power system to campus in summer 2011.
The referendum asked students to approve a continuation of the current $5 per student per semester SCP fee until 2016. A previous student referendum, in 2007, approved a gradual increase of the SCP fee from $1 in 2007 to $5 in 2011.
The SCP fee continuation passed with 89.3 percent of the student vote.
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