Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, May 24, 2018

Clean Energy Revolving Fund referendum passes, results will be passed to Board of Trustees

Clean Energy Revolving Fund referendum passes, results will be passed to Board of Trustees

With 1,204 votes, the Clean Energy Revolving Fund referendum found 66.9 percent of students in favor of raising Student Activity fees by $10 in support of clean energy.

Thirty-three percent of students voted against the referendum.

Now, the results will be handed over to the Board of Trustees. They will decide if the administration will increase the fee.

Steve Dalton, an advocate for the “Vote NO” campaign, doubts whether the referendum will change anything.

“I’m not sure if the vote will change anything,” he said. “This was just a poll to ask students whether they would support the idea.”

In reference to the referendum taken in 2006, where students were asked whether they were willing to raise fees to pay for clean energy, Dalton pointed out that 71 percent voted to raise fees compared to this year’s 66.9 percent.

“I think its important to note that the percentage dropped in the four years since the last poll was taken concerning this issue, and I think the Board of Trustees will make a decision,” he said. “I personally would hope it would be an opt-in option.”

Supporters of the CERF referendum were also present to witness the results of their efforts. Sam Hagedorn, a sophomore in the School of Communication and contributor to the development of CERF, spoke for the potential benefits of the fund once in effect.

“CERF can transform this campus. Nothing will look better to an incoming student than to see our buildings with solar panels and our skies with wind turbines,” he said. “With this powerful measure now we can really take [AU] to the 21st century.”

Activism on both fronts of the referendum dominated Facebook pages and even the main quad in the week leading up to the vote.

Supporters of the successful CERF referendum took to the quad Monday afternoon to spread awareness about the referendum and to answer questions about how the potential $10 CERF fee would affect students.

Sara Schwartz, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, was at the rally to encourage fellow students to think about the big picture when it comes to clean energy.

“Clean energy is really important not just for the community but for the entire world,” Schwartz said. “I just want people to really think about the impact they could have by donating $10. It’s bigger than the $10 — with that money we can help create a more sustainable society.”

Supporters of CERF are especially eager for the fund due to its ability to make AU a greater leader in sustainable energy.

“We don’t just have an opportunity to support clean energy,” EcoSense President Jennifer Jones said at the beginning of the rally. “We have the responsibility, too.”

The rally was held in multiple locations, from the middle of the quad to the front of Mary Graydon Center to the Letts-Anderson quad. Participants donned green hard hats, carried homemade wind turbines, and some dressed as environmental elements to show their support for the referendum.

The referendum, which was included in the SG election ballot, was administered Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

The referendum passed, meaning students could be subject to an additional $10 on their Student Activity fee. The results of the referendum will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees.

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