Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CNI: $36 Worth Your Money

So the lastest online survey sent out by the SGA asked a key question: Would students be willing to pay $36 to offset their carbon footprint? And so before us is one of the key questions of the Comprehensive Fee Committee and the CNI or Carbon Neutrality Initiative. The survey, of course, neglects to mention exactly what is a "carbon footprint" is or how "carbon offsets" are calculated. Many students, unfortunately, are not quite the best informed on the concept.

Talking to folks working on the initiative, the $36 is less about actually investing the money back into sustainable projects and carbon reduction (which would happen) as it is about sending a message to the students that each individual has a quantifiable carbon footprint. Reducing the overall carbon footprint of students is much better achieved by taking steps to say convert the college van fleet to hybrids or changing the way energy is generated at our heating plant. Critics of the $36 increase point out that the company we'd by our offsets from is a for-profit company (unverified).

Rumor has it that so far 400+ students have taken the poll and a large portion of them support the $36 increase in comp fee to pay for an offset. Also, a number of folks support a parking fee for car owners on campus...

The Campus Article

Also, on a related note, where we don't succeed, SNG and Middlebury are inspiring students elsewhere with smashing events like the huge SNG event this past weekend. A student from Bates called the weekend: "life-changing," "inspiring," and "motivating."

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on the books...