The Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) is a student-led organization charged with the distribution of two student fees – the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee and the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee. With the ultimate goal of making the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a leader in campus sustainability, the SSC reviews, recommends, and funds projects that increase environmental stewardship, inspire change, and impact students.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice
"Sustainability should be science based and justice guided."
One of the highest priorities of SSC is to broaden the scope of sustainability programming on campus to include all three pillars of sustainability—the environment, society, and economy. The second pillar, also known as social sustainability, is often neglected as a peripheral issue, but we are determined to make it a priority on our campus.
Social sustainability is the "development (and/or growth) that is compatible with the harmonious evolution of civil society, fostering an environment conducive to the compatible cohabitation of culturally and socially diverse groups while at the same time encouraging social integration, with improvements in the quality of life for all segments of the population."1 Based off a desire to be better in regard to creating these types of conditions in our community, SSC created a diversity statement to guide our current and future ambitions:
"The SSC is committed to diversity in all forms. This stems from our core belief that engaging with a wide range of ideas, perspectives, cultures, and peoples facilitates a culture conducive for greater growth. We will find ways to support one another and strive to build a community of care and solidarity towards changing the trajectory of our future for the better."
1 Polese M, Stren R, 2000 The Social Sustainability of Cities: Diversity and Management of Change. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pages 15- 16.
The Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) traces its origins to a small group of passionate Illinois students that were fighting for the use of clean energy on campus in 2002. As the students advocated for more student body engagement and voice in regards to energy issues on campus, their efforts eventually evolved into something much bigger. The students decided to pursue the formation of a university green fund.
The first student-initiated fee was a $2 per semester fee called the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee (CET), which was approved through a student referendum. The intent of CET was and still is to provide renewable energy as a portion of the campus energy portfolio and to reduce carbon emissions. The fee is used to purchase cleaner energy technologies for campus, including solar, wind, hydrogen, and geothermal projects; energy efficiency; and renewable energy from non-University producers.
Students successfully campaigned for a $5 per semester refundable student-initiated fee called the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee (SCE). The fee was approved by a referendum of the student body and by the Board of Trustees. SCE was installed to help establish a sustainable campus environment by financing initiatives such as green buildings, engagement of the University community, recycling, energy efficiency, and environmentally responsible purchasing.
The SSC approves the first projects to be funded using the CET and SCE fees!
The student body passes a referendum to raise the SCE fee from $5 to $14 (per semester, per student). The measure was passed with a 77% approval rate and firmly established Illinois as having the largest sustainability funding pool of its kind in the United States.
The SCE Fee is made non-refundable with the caveat that it is reduced to $12.06 (per semester, per student).
Students passed a referendum to renew both the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee ($12.06) and the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee ($2.00). The motions passed with an 82% and an 87% approval rate, respectively.
Today, the Cleaner Energy Technologies fee remains at $2.00 and the Sustainable Campus Environment fee remains at $12.06. These two fees allow SSC to allocate $1.47 million annually to projects that work toward the University’s sustainability goals as laid out in the Illinois Climate Action Plan.
Since its inception, SSC has allocated a total of $15.55 million toward funding 316 projects that have made an impact in sustainability!