In April 2007, undergraduate University students overwhelmingly voted in favor of increasing student fees to fund clean energy and other sustainability initiatives. Each undergraduate student paid $4 (approximately $100,000 in total) toward the fund when the fee came into effect in the fall of 2009. The fee increases $2 per student per year until it reaches a total of $12 per student in the 2013-2014 academic year.
The University Sustainability Council’s Student Sustainability Fee Subcommittee recommended in spring 2010 to use the first year of funds to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) for the campus. A REC represents one megawatt-hour of electricity produced from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. Purchasing RECs promotes the development of wind farms and other renewable energy projects while allowing the University to count these RECs as reductions to its carbon footprint. The University purchased 66,000 RECs in 2010, which put the University of Maryland among the top ten universities in the nation for the purchase of renewable energy.
Starting in the fall 2010, the Student Sustainability Fee will be used to fund projects that reduce environmental impacts and/or enhance sustainability education on campus. University departments, student groups, and other officially recognized campus entities can apply for funds via the campus sustainability website by clicking here.