The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

LEED certification voted down

Student Senate voted against a resolution 10-to-12 with one abstention in support of LEED certification of the new university center at a meeting on Tuesday night.

LEED certification is an internationally recognized green building system, according to the U.S. Green Building Council Web site. It provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies concerning energy savings and emissions reductions, among others.

LEED offers four types of certification for schools, from lowest to highest: certified, silver, gold and platinum, according to the Web site.

Student body president and author of the resolution Michael Umhoefer said that the building will be built to a low gold or high silver level of certification.

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Umhoefer said this resolution came up because the steering committee wanted to give students a voice and get a definitive vote on how the students stand.

Other system schools with LEED certified buildings include UW-La Crosse and Stevens Point.

“We need to make the same step,” Umhoefer said during discussion of the resolution.

The failed resolution will be discussed at the next meeting of the steering committee, and Umhoefer said he doubts they will decide to certify.

“The only way it could be certified now would probably be if we used private donations,” he said. “I doubt that we’ll be able to raise that much money for a certificate.”

The additional funds needed to certify the building would come from the general project budget and would total an estimated $500,000 dollars, according to the resolution.

“With previous sustainability-type resolution and bills, they’ve always been supported strongly. It did come to a surprise to me that it wasn’t passed,” Umhoefer said.

Sen. Jacob Kampen, who opposed the resolution, said people need to realize that it was not about sustainability.

“It was just about congratulating ourselves,” he said, because sustainability decisions were already made. “I just thought it was irresponsible to spend $473,000 on a certificate to tell us something we already know.”

Like Umhoefer, Kampen was surprised that the resolution was voted down. He said he expected people to vote yes for issues involving sustainability.

“I’m impressed and pleased that the Senate took a critical look and looked at common sense,” he said.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich and MJ Brukardt, co-chair of the Higher Learning Commission steering team, also delivered special presentations to the Senate body during the meeting regarding the Blugold commitment and the Higher Learning Commision visit, respectively.

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LEED certification voted down