Carbon Fund Referendum

Fee Title: Renewable Energy Fee

Measure #: Measure 44

Ballot Information

Shall the undergraduates and graduate students of UCSC amend Measure 28, the Renewable Energy fee passed in Spring 2006 as follows: The amendment would allow funds to be used for on-site renewables and energy efficiency projects that will directly reduce our campus' carbon footprint, in combination with supporting a local offsets program and purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset campus emissions. This is not a new fee, but an amendment to an existing fee.

Summary Points

  • Maintain undergraduate and graduate compulsory fee of $3.00 per quarter, per student.
  • The amendment is effective Fall 2010 for the 2010-2011 academic year, and the amendment has no ending date.
  • The fee will continue being assessed to all undergraduates and graduates enrolled in the fall, winter, spring and summer quarters.
  • Fee is sponsored for undergraduates on the ballot by resolution of the Student Union Assembly.
  • Fee is sponsored for graduates on the ballot by resolution Graduate Student Association.
  • This measure will also allow the reserve money to be spent on energy efficiency projects or on-site renewables.

Background

In Spring Quarter 2006 students voted to create a $3.00 per student per quarter Renewable Energy Fee, effective in Fall Quarter 2006. The measure was approved by 69% of the students who voted. The measure included an allowance that 25% of the income generated would be used for financial aid. The purpose of the fee was to allocate funding to Physical Plant to purchase renewable energy certificates in order to offset campus use of electricity. If the price of electricity did not increase, the measure allowed up to $1 of the fee to be saved in a reserve to pay for possible future price inflation. In 2008-2009, $148,722 in revenue was generated by the fee. $94,620 was used to purchase the certificates and $37,180 was dedicated to financial aid. Currently, there are adequate funds to purchase the certificates and a modest reserve equivalent to approximately 82 cents per student existed as of June 30, 2009.

Ballot Statement

This measure seeks to amend Measure 28 to reduce our energy usage and offset our green house gases (GHG’s) related to energy purchased. The amendment would halt the purchase of offsets through a contracted company, and would keep the fee revenue on campus in one fund overseen by a new committee. This new committee will decide the allocation of funds, and will be created upon the passage of this amendment. The committee includes but is not limited to:

  • Member(s) of the Student Environmental Center (student)
  • Member of Green Campus (student)
  • Campus Climate Action CUIP and/or student representative of the Executive Committee on Climate and Sustainability Planning (student)
  • Member of CalPIRG (student)
  • The campus Energy Manager or delegate (staff)
  • Member of the Sustainability Office (staff/student)
  • Purchaser or delegate (student)

This committee will review proposals submitted by those who wish to pursue a project related to:

  • Installing renewable energy sources on campus or in the Santa Cruz community
  • Energy efficient projects on campus or in the Santa Cruz community
  • Using above projects to participate in local offsets programs
  • Temporary services of a consultant or to pay for temporary student work in the service of sustainability efforts on campus.
  • Other projects related to reducing the carbon footprint of the UCSC campus and increasing overall campus sustainability, as deemed appropriate by the committee described below

The committee will hold its first meeting no later than Friday October 29th of 2010. The committee will create its own process, defining items such as: how often to meet, what funding proposals must look like, etc. Outside of creating this process, the committee must adhere to the following stipulations:

  • The committee will report to, and make recommendations to, the Executive Committee on Climate and Sustainability Planning, through the Sustainability Office. The committee will also prioritize its funding choices per the recommendations of the Sustainability Office and the Executive Committee on Climate and Sustainability Planning.
  • In reviewing proposals for funding, the committee will give priority consideration to on-campus projects, and projects that provide students with learning opportunities; however projects without these components can still receive funding.
  • In reviewing proposals for funding, the committee or members must seek consultation with faculty. Ideally this faculty will be the chair of the Environmental Studies Department, but the committee can decide the form of faculty consultation.
  • The committee can assign funds or a percentage of its total funds to a condoned entity for climate purposes, such as the Student Environmental Center, Sustainability Office, or the Executive Committee on Climate and Sustainability Planning.
  • Proposals for Energy efficiency projects must include the cost, GHG reduction, payback period and expected savings of the project. The project plan must allocate some of expected savings back into the Measure 28 .

If this measure does not pass, the existing $3.00 (Measure 28) fee will continue for the purposes specified in the original ballot language.

Student Consultation Method:

This amendment was originally voted on in 2009. It would have passed with 82.28% of voters voting "yes". However, only 18.96% of the student body voted on it so the measure failed. Yet the overwhelming number of "yes" votes indicates high positive student interest in the passage of this measure.

Student meetings with students involved in sustainability on campus: This amendment was discussed and approved by both the Student Environmental Center (SEC) and the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) at SEC's 2010 Winter Retreat. Last year a great deal of student consultation was done including: "SEC meetings with Campaign Coordinators. Student surveys given to general members and Campaign Coordinators of the SEC." There is also a history of student support for sustainability related measures, as indicated in the attached compilation of sustainability polls.

The amendment was voted on again in 2010, and passed. 87.57% of voters voted "yes", with a total voter turnout of 37.57%.

Endorsements

Student Environmental Center, Education for a Sustainable Living Program, Campus Climate Action CUIP