One per cent campaign gets green light

Voted in during the CSU elections last week, the One per cent campaign was given the go-ahead to implement a fee levy system charging students 25 cents per credit. Totaling a preliminary budget of $185,000 a year, the project will help fund already in place sustainability programs, like Concordia’s rooftop greenhouse, and new projects.

Over the next few years, students will see the One per cent campaign taking shape in new regulations and eco-friendly services. One project involves the distribution of 40,000 mugs at the beginning of the school year. Students will be expected to bring their mug to Java U for their morning coffee and to Reggie’s for their Thursday beer.

Other changes include mandating the use of reusable bags when purchasing goods on campus, implementing double-sided photocopiers and printers, replacing the bio-diesel shuttle buses with electric ones and the completion of Loyola’s $500,000 composting system.

Peter Shiefke, founder of the One per cent project, said when he came up with the idea a few years ago, his goal was not to “reinvent the wheel.”

“There [are] people who have been doing this for years already, they just don’t have the funding. They’ve come up with amazing reports on what we need to do, but they need money to do it,” said Shiefke. “The One per cent campaign is to fund these amazing initiatives that have been created by students.”

Shiefke attempted to convince Concordia’s Sustainability club that their initial plan to ask students for five cents per credit wasn’t enough.

“I said ‘Listen, you guys are doing great work, but to make sure you become mainstream and not just a fringe club on campus you need to ask for more than the five cents you asked for originally,'” said Shiefke.

That 25 cents per credit will more than double the funding for groups like R4 Concordia and Sustainable Concordia.

The project will be manned by a board separate from the university. Shiefke said this is to ensure the fee levy funding goes towards creating and improving projects, instead of paying university-subsidized programs. “We’re creating a separate board because I didn’t want the money to just be controlled by the university. I wanted to create a separate board where you have a majority of students and student leaders as well as administrators, so we can say that the money collected by the One percent campaign is not going to go to something you’re already paying for.”

The board will be in charge of implementing all One per cent projects and direct the money toward projects already under way.

Shiefke said their larger-scale plans include the greening of Mackay St. and setting up windmills on the top of Concordia’s new buildings as a source of renewable energy. Annually, the One per cent campaign would bring in less than one third the price of a windmill. The Minister of Environment, however, has promised to match funds raised by the fee levy, bringing the total budget up to $300,000.

“A lot of people ask the government for money, but they don’t put their own money up,” said Shiefke. “When people put their own money up it’s almost guaranteed that people are going to give them support.”

Shiefke plans to organize a nation-wide tour to promote the campaign itself and to inspire other universities. He said John Abbot’s College, Dawson and McGill University have already contacted him about implementing the same program. “Basically [we] just said, ‘Look, let’s try this, let’s grab someone who inspires all generations, like David Suzuki, and let’s try and get this spread across the country,'” said Shiefke.


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