Sustainability fee well worth price

It’s not easy being green. As Murray State gears up for finals before Summer Break, a dedicated group of students on campus, the members of the Murray State Environmental Student Society, or MESS, has launched a campaign on campus to make it easier for all of us to be a bit “greener.”

As reported exclusively at, MESS is working to establish a $1 to $15 green fee added on to tuition costs that will help fund sustainable projects on campus. But MESS’ proposal can’t come to fruition without student support – and that’s where you come in.

In past editorials, The News has strongly opposed tuition increases that we felt were unwarranted or unnecessary burdens on students. We took a stand against President Randy Dunn’s plan to establish a new library on campus and charge all of us to pay for it.

We have repeatedly editorialized against attempts by the administration to raise tuition fees when we clearly had plenty of money as a University to spare.

Why, now, are we shifting course and calling for students to support a proposal that could cost them a bit more out of pocket?

Because it matters.

Climate change will, whether you believe it or not, be the challenge that defines this moment in our history, that gives to us our very own rendezvous with destiny, to quote President Franklin Roosevelt.

Our forefathers and foremothers confronted the twin evils of fascism and communism, and we, the living, face a challenge that may yet prove to be more disruptive to human civilization than the world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War or the war on terror. It is an inescapable fact of life.

We have to do something about it, whether we like it or not.

Of course, calling for students at Murray State to support a sustainability fee, and comparing it to the horrors of the 20th century might seem hyperbolic to the casual observer.

Climate change isn’t gunning down civilians or engaged in firebombing raids in the dead of night, but it is wreaking havoc upon people of all colors, creeds, faiths and tongues.

We have seen this firsthand. As reported in The News last August, drought ravaged University crops as part of one of the driest summers on record.

Hurricanes, like Hurricane Sandy, which tore into the East Coast shortly before last year’s presidential election, have increased in frequency and grown more powerful, leading to a new categorical designation, that of the superstorm.

Record snows have blanketed, and continue to blanket, parts of the country as this goes to press.

Tornadoes have made an apparence as early as January and continue to pop up wherever you look.

A sustainability fee, won’t by itself solve the problem, but it would be a step closer to a solution that is bigger than just Murray State and little ol’ Murray, Ky. If Murray State, a four year University with a student population of more than 10,000 can make necessary investments in sustainable infrastructure and projects that promote sustainable growth and development, what’s to stop the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville from doing so? Hell, what’s to stop the Ivy League schools?

Murray State students should set an example for the rest of our Commonwealth and the rest of our nation by adopting a sustainability fee.

As the leaders of the future, we should start the work of solving this problem as soon as we can, because folks, it’s not going to go away.

Previous generations have had the ability to sit on their asses and let the generations that come after them figure out how to fix the problems that their complacency has caused.

They have “kicked the can down the road” continually with little regard for where the can will fall or whom it might hit.

That can has hit us in the forehead.

We don’t have the time to get up and kick it back down the road, because not solving this problem is not an option.

Students should jump on board this effort to green our campus and create a means by which to promote a sustainable future not just for students here, but for students across the globe.

We have a responsibility to our generation and to our planet to re-evaluate the way things have been done in the past and make those needed adjustments for a future that is sustainable before its too late.

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

2 Comments on "Sustainability fee well worth price"

  1. no. no student is in favor of new fees. we are already getting gouged at every turn. getting a college degree already means starting life with a mountain of debt right out of the gate. "well this fee is for a good…" NO. we all know that costs are inevitably going to go up every year. it is going to happen whether we like it or not. strapping a trendy name to one of the fees isn't going to make us like it any more. they could call it the cute baby and kittens fee, it is still an extra fee. just because I gripe about paying it doesn't mean I hate cute babies and kittens. when it comes to new fees, just assume that students don't want to pay it and vote no, knowing that it doesn't matter because prices are still going to rise and we can all just bend over and take it.

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