Friday, March 6, 2009

Gallaudet's Unit Fees and Green Gallaudet

Written for the campus newspaper, Buff & Blue
by Jessica Frank, Environmental Intern

Each semester, the students at Gallaudet University are billed an extra $138.00 paid by mostly the helping dollars of our tax payers or by the pockets of our generous parents. Either way, that extra $138.00 each semester, which comes to a total of $276.00 per year, is paid by every undergraduate and graduate student here at this university (there are 1,333 currently enrolled). A nice total of $183,954.00 is then added to the university budget each semester.

This $183,954.00 is evenly distributed to the following organizations, the Student Body Government, the Graduate Student Association, the Buff and the Blue, Tower Clock, and BisonTV to encourage paraprofessional work within the student body. The 35 something thousands of dollars granted to each student organization is most likely used to pay its staff of students, maintain the organization’s purpose and function (like publishing), and possibly even support events that benefit the community.

What do all these five organizations have in common? This university currently has over twenty student-run organizations on campus, and yet only five are granted use of the unit fee. To answer this, these five organizations all are here to serve the student body and the community as a whole. It is not intended to support a certain demographic, but instead is here to benefit all those attending the university. For example, the Buff and Blue covers all issues that range from athletics to politics; the Student Body Government has branches that are spread all over, reaching out to people in need of support in areas such as academics and diversity.

Now, Green Gallaudet, Gallaudet’s still newest organization, is known for its advocacy of environmental issues. It has promoted awareness of what is happening to our world through past events such as Focus the Nation and is pushing for a campus-wide change by having the university become a signatory on the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Green Gallaudet does not address a certain demographic nor does it face issues that only affect a specific part of our community. The issues brought by global warming have a direct impact on not only the students of the Gallaudet community, but also faculty, staff, administration, as well as our families and friends that are spread out all over the world. This organization understands that this university, as a wide-spread community, has the ability to create a huge difference and is doing what it can to create a heightened understanding and involvement in the well-being of this campus.

There is also a rapid incline in the supply of green jobs and the demand of qualified persons all around the United States. “In 2006, the US economy had about 750,000 green jobs. By 2038, the U.S. Metro Economies report projects that more than 4.2 million green jobs will be created by the economy” (Environmental and Energy Study Institute). Students of Gallaudet could attain amazing paraprofessional experience in areas of sustainability such as taking part in Green Gallaudet, and could clearly contribute to future working opportunities.

Currently, this organization is non-profit. Its members spend many hours working to create the greenest community possible at Gallaudet with no pay. The experience and knowledge provided in this organization is enormous and holds great potential. What makes this organization any different from the five student run organizations that receive funding from the unit fee? The difference holds no significance.

I dare that we take a stand and ask that next year, Green Gallaudet is made part of the organizations that are supported by the unit fee so it can create greater opportunities and serve the Gallaudet community to its utmost, greenest potential.


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