In April, 2003, student Justin Fleming submitted a proposal decision package to the Student Incidental Fees Committee (SIFC), with intentions of greatly advancing recycling and waste reduction efforts at OSU. After considerable debate in both the Graduate and Undergraduate Senates, the fee proposal went to mediation, where it was eventually approved at $1.85 per student, per term. In February 2006 Justin developed a student advisory board to help manage both the budget and the growing list of sustainability related projects. The newly named Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) worked with Justin on several projects developed to reduce the ecological footprint of OSU and advance sustainability awareness. In April 2007 Oregon State students voted to increase student fees by $8.50 per student per term to fund 100% renewable energy for the university. The SSI was charged, in part, with overseeing those offsets.
Since 2007, the Student Sustainability Initiative has grown and flourished. From a single-project, all-hands-on-deck approach, the organization has grown to addressing six key areas simultaneously. Today, these areas are Energy, Food, Landscape, Transportation, Water, and Waste Reduction. Tomorrow, they may well be something different. Though established to simply oversee the sustainable fee, the SSI has become much more than a governing body.
This growth has mirrored the breadth and depth of sustainability interests held by the student body we are charged with representing. As students become more involved, more passionate, and more active, the SSI is moving towards a supporting and enabling - rather than initiating - role. Someday, we hope to be unnecessary. Until then, we will continue to grow and change in the ways wee represent and support student interests in sustainability at OSU.
Learn more about each year of our history from the perspective of past student employees: