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Pellissippi state implements student-proposed sustainability fee

Pellissippi State Community College will implement a new fee for fall semester with the blessing of its students. Proceeds will be used to invest in more sustainable practices on campus. It is the first community college in the state to implement a sustainability fee.

The new fee was voted on by the student body in 2010. Three-fourths of respondents voted yes. Students will pay an extra $10 per semester.

Pellissippi already has several environmental projects underway and was recognized in 2010 with the Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award for projects including recycling collection, green course offerings and sustainable building practices at the new Blount County campus. The new fee will give those practices long-term support and sustainability, officials say, not an easy prospect for an institution where students live off campus and usually stay only two years.

A committee of students, faculty and staff will decide how the money is spent. Some ideas being proposed are buying recycling barrels for the other campuses, upgrading our lighting to be more energy-efficient and installing solar panels on campus, according to Terry Martin, a recent student recycling coordinator.
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