Senate may fund ‘green’ projects, Hobbs Ice Arena

A pair of multi-thousand dollar pieces of legislation, one of which could raise student fees by $10 per semester, is set to come across Student Senate’s docket next week.

One of the two bills aims to establish and maintain a “green” coffer to provide grant-like funding for environmental initiatives on campus. The other seeks to extend $50,000 in funding for the Hobbs Ice Arena renovation project.

Both bills were introduced to Senate this Monday and will likely come up for a vote next Monday.

Senate Treasurer Michael Umhoefer said after this week’s meeting that the environmental bill will require raising student fees by $10 per semester.

The money generated would go toward creating an account from which a committee of faculty, administrators and students could provide grant-style funding for “faculty-student projects, courses and capstone courses” designed with environmental initiatives in mind, according to the bill. Student organizations working in groups of two or more would also be eligible for funding.

Umhoefer acknowledged $10 seems a high price to pay, but said that amount would be “enough to actually get quite a bit of environmental causes.”

“With the in-house grant proposal and a student-majority committee that will control that,” he said, “it really is the best way to integrate these environmental causes into the learning experience.”

If Senate passes the bill Monday, students will then approve or deny the fee increase in an online referendum on Thursday, Oct. 23. Umhoefer said if the student referendum passes, the legislation will then have to get approval from the UW System Board of Regents, hopefully in December.

Senate agreed last spring to provide $250,000 in funding for the Hobbs renovation project, according to Monday’s bill. Now, Senate is being asked to extend an additional $50,000 in funding to the more-than-$1 million project.

According to the bill, all $300,000 will be matched by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, and Senate’s additional $50,000 donation would ensure the university’s naming rights for the renovated facility.