06/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

GREEN FEES: College Students Demand To Pay Their Own Way To Renewables

Green Inc. reports that college students are asking for tuition increases and less beer. OK, maybe just tuition increases, but it still seems unlikely, right? From the Green Inc. piece on green fees:

But rising numbers of students seem willing to self-impose a "green" fee, to help the environment and purchase renewable energy. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education posts a list of universities that have such fees, which generally hover around $3 to $5 a semester but have increased to $40 a term in the case of Northland College in Wisconsin.

Many schools have tried this approach -- or greening their endowment investments -- as a way to improve their sustainable profiles and earn better grades on the Green Report Card.

Here's a list of schools that currently have mandatory student fees for the explicit purpose of green projects, courtesy of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education:


  • The Evergreen State College
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Auraria Campuses: University of Colorado at Denver, Metro State University and Community College of Denver
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Wisconsin, La Crosse


  • The College Of William and Mary
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northland College
  • Appalachian State University
  • Bemidji State University
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

For example, here are some excerpts from summaries of the Auraria Campuses' (Denver) green fees:

Mayor John Hickenlooper is all about the green: He has an initiative to plant a million trees by 2025, a leafy jacket and his Greenprint Denver plan to prove it. But students on the Auraria campus are trying to one-up him by building the largest solar-energy project on a college campus outside of California, and the fifth-largest in the country. By placing photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the Central Classroom and library buildings, they plan to generate 750 kilowatts of solar power, which would offset about 3 percent of the energy used on campus -- on top of the 45 percent that already comes from wind.

...Auraria students are continuing their commitment to sustainability. On April 25 and 26, they voted to renew their current Clean Energy Fee of $1 per student per semester, and approved an increase every year up to $5 per semester in 2010-11.

Get HuffPost Green updates on Facebook and Twitter!