Tricia Tutland | Guest Writer | 11-28-2011
Student senate passed a bill that will allow $5,000 of the school’s green fee to be used for the purchase of two new athletic cold tubs, along with looking into renewable energy cardiovascular machines.
BSU Student Senate voted 17 to 1 October 26, 2011 to use $5000 of the student green fee towards two new cold tubs for the athletic department. The idea was presented to the Senate after hours of research by the sustainability coordinator, Erika Bailey-Johnson and the Students for the Environment.
The green fee was initiated fall of 2008 in an effort to empower students to make BSUs campus environmentally friendly. The green fee is a $5 fee paid by all students at the beginning of every semester.
According to the Huffington Post, students are more “willing to self-impose a green fee, to help the environment and purchase renewable energy.” There are currently 14 schools with a mandatory green fee. Bemidji State University is the only Minnesota school with the mandatory fee as of 2009.
“”One unit (cold tub) costs $20,000 and they are only requesting $5,000 from the Green Fee to help pay for it,” said Bailey-Johnson.
BSU’s sustainability office is always looking for ways to reduce energy and save water. “This project is amazing,” said Bailey-Johnson. “The water saving is huge.”
The current stainless steel cold tubs are using 200 gallons on water daily. With the new energy and water efficient tubs, only 120 gallons of water would be used every four months.
Over the span of four months it would be using only 480 gallons of water, compared to the approximated 24,400 gallons of water the cold tubs currently use in a four month time period.
“The university spends so much money trying to get these athletes to their peak performance and this would help us do that best and save us money,” said student senator Philip Pasch. “We just want to help these athletes recover as best they can as soon as possible.”
Charlie Woodson, co-president of Student Senate, believes this is an excellent use of the green fee. “To me if they [Students for the Environment] feel that this is a good use for the green fee, I think we need to support them,” said Woodson. ” They are the experts, that’s what they do.”
“I this this is the perfect allocation of the green fee,” student senator Nick Nelson agreed.
Some however do not feel the cold tubs will serve the marketable purpose of the fee. According to the school’s website regarding the green fee, “Such projects will enhance the atmosphere of Bemidji State University as well as promote environmental stewardship on campus.”
“I just don’t think this is something that you can market with,” said student senator Amy Brown. “When you bring the tour around do you really think they are going to say, ‘Oh and we have cold tubs for the athletic department?’”
“Well right away it does not help every student in the short run, but in the long run we will be saving a fair amount of money because of the face that Erika Bailey-Johnson has stated that instead of going 200 gallons a day we will be using that much in four months,” said student senator Joe Moubry.
There are approximately 400 student athletes on campus. Each cold tub will have an estimated life span of around 20 years. The bill was passed at the meeting with 18 votes in favor, 4 abstentions and 1 against.
Students from ‘People in the Environment’ class, Tyler Hoff and Chris Rocheleau addressed the Senate November 2, 20ll, with the idea of retrofitting 10 cardiovascular machines with ReRev renewable energy that would capture human kinetic energy and transform it into DC power.
Hoff and Rocheleau believe it is their moral obligation to promote a more sustainable lifestyle. “We could be the first school in Minnesota and surrounding states to have this in our facilities,” said Hoff.
The Gillette Recreation-Fitness Center will be funding the purchase of ten new cardiovascular machines at an estimated cost of $20,000. this will not be using students’ money.
“We are asking for Student Senate to use a portion of the green fee in funding this project,” said Rocheleau. ” The installation estimate is $12,700, we are asking for $8,000 to come out of the green fee… this will cover part of the ReRev equipment and estimated installation cost.”
“As students of BSU we believe that this is a good use of the student green fee because there is already a budget for this type of projects,” said Hoff. “We are still running off last year’s overflow fund, and if we do not use those built up funds, it will not be fair to current students who have paid their share but will not see any results.”
Co-Chair of the Student Senate, Paige Timm, believes this is a more marketable and efficient use of the green fee. “I think we should maybe move towards that because that is something we can market more, generate energy,” said Timm. “It is something that more of the student body can use, compared to the percentage that athletes take up. . . If I had to choose something I would choose that.”
Faculty in support of this project are Dr. Timm Brochman of Tech Studies, Dr. Favid Bahr of the Physics Department, Erika Bailey-Johnson, the Sustainability Coordinator, and Associate Director of Campus Recreation, Duane Biehn.
The bill has been passed to University Affairs for a final decision.