The Green Initiative Fund

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The Green Intiative Fund was a initiative fee referendum voted on in the Winter 2009 ASUCD Election. It failed to pass, only getting a 36% yes vote of the required 60%.

The Green Initiative Fund

The Green Initiative Fund ([WWW]TGIF) was an initiative which, according to its backers, was to promote sustainable development at UC Davis. TGIF would have added $4 per quarter to student fees, creating a fund that students would have been able to apply to for to fund sustainable projects on campus, though part of the fund would have also been spent on administrative overhead. TGIF would endorse projects in areas reaching from education to physical structures on campus. At UC Davis, this would create a fund of about $200,000 that would be available to students. Other UC's like UC Berkeley, UCSB, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, and UCLA have already passed TGIF and are funding student projects, though there is apparently some concern at other campuses about lack of student interest.

Official Mission Statement:
"The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) shall strive to promote sustainable development by providing necessary resources to the UC Davis Community. As part of a higher education institution, TGIF will involve and educate students by empowering them to develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects.

Important aspects of sustainability include minimization of the negative effects of producing and consuming energy, preservation of environmental and economic resources, equity to insure social justice, and reverence for the future."

The Ballot Measure

Overview

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) will finance student-developed projects and educational programs that promote sustainability at UC Davis. It is designed to encourage undergraduate leadership, involvement and innovation in environmental stewardship.
The passage of this initiative will require a voter turnout equal to at least twenty percent (20%) of the undergraduate student population and at least sixty percent (60%) plus one approval. For more on these provisions, see “Initiative Provisions” (attached).
If passed, the fees outlined in this initiative will be assessed starting Fall Quarter 2009.

Descriptions

Comparable programs have recently been approved at UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz and a campaign is being run at UC Irvine. Some of the projects that have been conducted include:
* A system for undergraduate car sharing at UCSB to decrease road congestion and promote a sense of community.
* Energy-efficient windows in UC Berkeley’s Anthony Hall, a building that houses student organizations.
* An outreach program at UCSB to educate students about the merits of reusable bottles compared to plastic bottles.

The Green Initiatives Fund’s Mission

The Green Initiative Fund shall strive to promote sustainable development by providing necessary resources to the UC Davis Community.
As an undergraduate focused entity, TGIF will involve and educate students by empowering them to develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects.

How TGIF works

A student-majority committee, called the Grant-Making Committee, would manage the fund and allocate grants to applicants. Four of the committee seats will be held by undergraduate students, two by staff members and one by a faculty member. Any current UC Davis undergraduate, or a group with significant undergraduate involvement, may apply for funding from TGIF.

A set of TGIF bylaws will be developed and made publicly available to assure the accountability of the fund. These bylaws will outline the operation of TGIF and will include the process for dispensing funds. Any group applying for TGIF funds is required to have significant undergraduate involvement. Organizations outside of UC Davis may not submit proposals. The Grant Making Committee and TGIF staff are required to provide guidance to grant applicants so that students can easily negotiate the grant application process. Grants will be distributed the 6th week of Fall Quarter and the 2nd week of Spring Quarter. An annual report of fund distribution and allocation will be sent to the Student Services and Fee Administrative Advisory Committee to further assure fund accountability.
TGIF shall be accountable and transparent to the student body by making all approved grants available to the public via the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability website and the Associated Students of University of California, Davis website.

Return-to-Aid

Consistent with the University of California Office of the President Policy (Policy 80.00: Compulsory Campus-Based Student Fees), an amount equal to 25% of the proposed fee shall be provided for need-based financial aid (return to aid) for undergraduate students. This will provide funding to support those undergraduate students with the greatest financial need (those who are eligible for support from Pell Grants). Also, any remaining balance of the financial aid funds shall be allocated by the Financial Aid Office based on undergraduate student need.

Initiative Provisions – The Green Initiative Fund

Voting – “Minimum voting pools” have been determined in accordance with University regulations. A minimum voter turnout of twenty percent (20%) of the undergraduate student population is required for a valid vote. The exact number of undergraduate students required will be provided by the University Registrar prior to the election, and will be based on the Winter Quarter 2009 census data. In addition, this initiative requires ratification by at least sixty percent (60%) plus one for approval.

Life of Fee – This fee will end in ten years. However, any money remaining at the end of the fee will be distributed for additional student projects until the funds are exhausted. The fee will commence Fall Quarter 2009 and cease Summer Session II 2019.
Adjustment of Fee – This initiative makes no provision for a further increase of the fee. As such, this fee will remain at $4.00 per undergraduate student per quarter for the full term of this fee. Any adjustment to this fee would require a separate student-approved initiative.

Advisory Vote – The outcome of the vote shall be advisory to the Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs, the Chancellor and the President of the University.

Fee Participation – This fee will be assessed to all undergraduate students as a part of their regular Fall, Winter, and Spring quarterly fees. Additionally, the fee will be assessed to all students attending summer session and will be equal to $2.00.

Use of Funds Derived from the Fee – This fee will be collected solely to supply The Green Initiative Fund and will be used for no other purpose.

A portion of the fund will be used to employ staff and students who will manage the funding and allocation processes. Please note that only the student majority Grant-Making Committee will have the authority to approve applications. Also, a portion of the funds will finance promotional expenses, computers, and accounting. All other funds will be allocated to projects.

Distribution of Project Funds:
* A minimum of ten percent (10%) of funds will be allocated to educational projects.
* The Grant-Making Committee is not required to initiate any projects, however a maximum of forty percent (40%) of funds may be delegated to projects initiated by the Grant-Making Committee or retained for funding larger projects in the next fiscal year. Please note that all projects initiated by the Grant-Making Committee are subject to the same approval process as other applications.
* All other funds will be used for grants.

Governance:
A student- majority committee, called the Grant-Making Committee, would manage the fund by allocating grants to selected applicants. Four of the committee seats will be held by undergraduate students, two by staff members and one by a faculty member as follows:

* One undergraduate student appointed by the Associated Students of the University of California, Davis President after an application process.
* One undergraduate student living in Student Housing chosen by a committee made up of members of the Cooperative Living Community on Campus.
* One undergraduate student, hired through application process by the Grant-Making Committee after the other three Student members have been selected.
* One Faculty member selected by the Academic Senate.
* One Staff member from UC Davis Student Affairs selected by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
* The Chair of Associated Students of the University of California, Davis Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC).
* The Assistant Vice Chancellor of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (ESS) or an appointed staff member from this office.

A set of TGIF bylaws will be developed and made publicly available to assure the accountability of the fund. These bylaws will outline the operation of TGIF and will include the process for dispensing funds. Any group applying for TGIF funds is required to have significant undergraduate involvement. Organizations outside of UC Davis may not submit proposals. The Grant-Making Committee and TGIF staff is required to provide guidance to grant applicants so that students can easily negotiate the grant application process. Grants will be distributed the 6th week of Fall Quarter and the 2nd week of Spring Quarter.

Criteria for funding projects will include:
* Projects must have significant undergraduate student involvement.
* Projects must promote sustainability on the UC Davis campus, including off-campus activities which influence sustainability on campus.
* Projects must have a clearly defined and measurable outcome.

TGIF shall be accountable and transparent to the student body, and therefore shall:
* Make all its records available to the public via the office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability and Associated Students of University California, Davis (ASUCD) websites.
* Issue an annual report of its activities to ASUCD, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (ESS), and Student Services and Fee Administrative Advisory Committee.
* Submit a year-end evaluation report to ESS and ASUCD Senate.

Interest Income – All interest income earned from fees generated by this initiative will be made available to spend on the projects described in the ballot.

Coordination with the University – Projects funded by TGIF involving UC Davis lands, buildings, and/or resources must be coordinated with the appropriate UC Davis Administrators. Part of the job of the Grant-Making Committee and TGIF staff is to assist selected applicants in this process. If this initiative passes, TGIF intends to associate with ASUCD for administrative services, such as accounting.

Return-to-Aid — Consistent with the University of California Office of the President Policy (Policy 80.00: Compulsory Campus-Based Student Fees), an amount equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the proposed fee shall be provided for need-based financial aid (return-to-aid) for undergraduate students. This will provide funding to support those undergraduate students with the greatest financial need (those who are eligible for support from Pell Grants). Also, any remaining balance of the financial aid funds shall be allocated by the Financial Aid Office based on undergraduate student need.

Con Argument

Results at other UCs Ineffective

At UC Santa Cruz only 30% of the funding in their TGIF fund was spent in last two years. This left $350,000 in the fund unspent and out of the pockets of the students who were taxed. Even if the money is all spent next year, 1/2 of the students who's money went unspent the previous two years will have graduated and get no benefit from it. At UC Santa Barbara around $20,000 were spent on 20 waterless urinals, while at the same time $75,000 was spent on hiring contractors to install solar panels. Yet despite this capital improvement spending, 20% of the money went unspent despite both undergraduate and graduate students being able to receive it (UCD's TGIF would only allow undergrads). It is clear that these funds are exceedingly over budgeted in the tight financial times and that the UCD fund, which will raise a similar amount of money, will certainly fare the same in allowing valuable student money to go wasted and unspent.

Poor Oversight

There are only 4 undergraduates on the 7 member TGIF committee and only 2 of the 4 students are are selected without any influence by the administration. Of the other 2 students, 1 is selected by an administration controlled board with student membership, RHAB, while the last student selected by the other 6 TGIF boardmembers of which, only half are students. It is clear the administration has significant influence over this committee. In contrast, the Club Finance Council has $70,000 to give out is under the complete control of 12 students and is an example of a better model of governance.

Solution

The No on TGIF campaign believes it is important to have a fee that performs as efficiently and effectively as possible for the students who pay into it. It is clear that the proposed set up for the UC Davis TGIF does not fix the glaring issue of over-budgeting present at the other UCs and is also burdened by a terrible form of governance, but these are both problems that can be fixed. It is entirely possible to rewrite TGIF to take into account the failing at the other UCs and the issue of governance, and have a better form of it voted on next year. The existence of bylaws that can be changed by the grant committee through the life of this fee initiative is not enough, as the critical flaws of TGIF can only be fixed through a rewrite of its core setup. The bottom line is that passing TGIF as it is now would be a terrible disservice to the current and future student body of UC Davis, and the students deserve a better fee to vote on than the one being put before them this winter.

Getting involved in the No Campaign

Contact Don Gibson at dongibson AT ucdavis DOT edu

Join on Facebook: [WWW]http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=48289631187&ref=ts

Getting involved in the Yes Campaign

Statement from the Yes Campaign: To make TGIF a reality at UC Davis, we need your help! We are planning to put The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) on the 2009 winter election ballot. That means the time for campaigning is now. To learn mor about TGIF and all of the invigorating opportunities TGIF has to offer, join us for our first Informational Meeting. Bring a friend and make it a date.

Although only undergraduates can vote on the initiative, if you are a graduate student or Davis community member that is passionate about sustainability, we need all the peoplepower we can get. Even if you can only commit an hour of your time a week, you can contribute leaps and bounds to the campaign.

Contacts for the Yes Campaign

The Ballot Measure

The Ballot Measure will appear on the ballot with the exact language approved by the ASUCD Internal Affairs Commission on January 12. ASUCD will not accept further changes to the ballot measure.

TGIF In the Media

[WWW]The Green Initiative Fund campaign refuses campaign spending limits February 12th, 2009
[WWW]The Green Initiative Fund may finance campus sustainability projects January 28th, 2009
[WWW]Letter to the Editor February 3rd, 2009
[WWW]Columnist James Noonan: Steal This Column February 10, 2008

Comments:

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2009-01-15 14:14:49   Please don't tell me this is another blank check to the Administration for capital projects. We already had SASI, FACE, and CEI in the last twenty years, and students are still paying for them. —BrentLaabs


2009-01-15 15:58:52   Brent is right, Davis has some of the highest fees already, and it doesn't make sense to just raise them. Why don't folks who care about the environment make the administration live up to the promises they have made instead of just writing them another feel good check? —AndrewPeake


2009-01-16 00:49:23   Can someone post the Bylaws of the oversight board for TGIF? There are some big issues going into this regarding how the committee distributing the funds will be assembled, and how well they can perform their duties and still stay true to the student body and their commitment to sustainability. —AndrewBianchi


2009-01-16 13:39:34   Wow, you really got hit hard with the 20% voting pool requirement. Normally, that's something the Chancellor can waive, but probably not if you wrote it into the measure.

Considering how the students are chosen, I'm not really going to consider it a "student majority" committee. Admin can stop anyone appointed to the fourth student position that they don't like, and student leaders almost always cave first. Enjoy your David Ambrose-style committee. If the primary purpose was to fund student projects, then why not choose an all-student committee? —BrentLaabs


2009-01-16 15:15:34   I understand the intention, and I don't think any of us disagree with making Davis more green but as three people (Myself, Brent and Andy) with some experience with the administration, we have some reservations. I can see some major loopholes that will turn this into just another FACE. —AndrewPeake


2009-01-17 08:46:52   I deleted the Ballot measure as it is undergoing revisions and said I would repost when those revisions have been made. I would appreciate if my edit does not get reverted or the ballot does not get reposted until that time. Sorry. —StephanieCastle


2009-01-17 12:01:33   It's already passed IAC, so you can't actually revise. If you do, you're going to have to (A) get disqualified by the elections committee; or (B) run this in a later election. —BrentLaabs


2009-01-19 23:35:48   This is not and will never be a blank check for administration. In fact, this is a fund targeting student innovations and student leadership. To address the question of making edits on the ballot after IAC passed the language: the document change was made at the request of the office of the vice chancellor of student affairs to aid student voters’ decisions. IAC has consented to accept this change, since it came from the student affairs office, and not the writers of the ballot.
To address the issue of not posting the bylaws yet: according to ASUCD, only the language on the ballot itself is voted on, regardless if there are other documents. Also, like it was stated at the 1/15/09 Senate meeting, the majority of the language in the ballot was taken directly from the bylaws. Additionally, when UCSB voted and passed TGIF, they had not even stated a set of bylaws!
If any student is interested in signing the petition to put the initiative on the ballot please find us on the Quad any day this week.


2009-01-19 23:57:40   Yes, other initiatives have failed. That's been noted, and we're all aware of that. But to dismiss something such as TGIF that has the potential to be very powerful based on the fear of it turning into a failed initiative is far from the progress that is needed in these times on environmental distress.

I understand the politics are of great importance, but I believe there are larger problems and greater goals than perfecting bylaws. If we keep getting stuck in the fine print, nothing will ever get accomplished.

I'm excited to get involved with this drive and help in what ever way I can to make this campus and community more environmentally sustainable. I know that more people carry the same enthusiasm, and together we can accomplish what is needed. —DoyleRyan


2009-01-21 10:40:33   I understand the reservations that some students might have, but TGIF has some important provisions that protect against wasteful spending:

1. The Committee does not have to spend all of the funds every year. The funds can roll into the next year.
2. TGIF is about funding only the best ideas. The bylaws are written in such a way to deter ineffective spending.
3. TGIF is intended to fund projects that go above and beyond projects already mandated by law or UC Davis policy directive (e.g., standards for new building construction).
4. Projects must have undergraduate student involvement.

Finally, I think TGIF is about enabling students to take an active role in making UC Davis more sustainable. I just hate the idea of students having brilliant ideas and being unable to push forward with them because of a lack of funding. —KaseyTopp


2009-01-21 11:46:02   Three words.... "Bicycle Church Funding" —JimStewart


2009-01-21 15:06:04   We are in a period of rising fees and cuts to student academic resources. Why is it a priority to raise fees for "green projects" instead of raising fees for academic, counseling, technology resources? —JamesSchwab


2009-01-21 15:29:21   Are these projects "shovel ready"? —BrentLaabs


2009-01-21 19:49:05   I completely agree with James Schwab's comment above. I am extremely skeptical of a new fee, as I suspect most students are. While it's a nice idea to promote sustainability, all you have to do is read the newspaper to see how many programs and resources are at risk of having funding slashed. I would much rather support things that have proven success or will make a significant improvement in my day to day life (like, the learning skills center, unitrans, or the coho). —OscarSabino


2009-01-21 22:15:08   If this initiative succeeds in stealing my money for this useless project, I will burn Styrofoam on the quad everyday...Ok maybe not, but I will litter. A lot. And let my truck idle. And club baby seals and eat panda steaks. TGIF will need a project solely to clean up after me. Bad enough the regents are gonna raise fees upwards of 10% soon. Get your money from somewhere else. —MattBlair


2009-01-25 16:44:49   I understand that the bylaws aren't being voted on, but if the language of the ballot measure came directly from the bylaws, wouldn't it help to frame them better for voters wanting to know more about the issue by making those bylaws readily available? Also, for those of us with issues regarding the structure of the Grant-Making Committee, what would that amendment process look like? I disagree with the notion that the Co-ops should be selecting a representative from their own ranks to sit on a committee that will likely hear a couple, if not many proposals from that same body of students. If I wanted to see this changed, what steps would I have to go through? Why was the structure of the body included in this ballot measure? Why do we have to hire a full-time staffer to do what a un-paid student coordinator does for CFC? Why don't we have a directly-elected official regulating a much larger sum of money than ASUCD's annual Senate Reserves? It seems that the authors of this ballot measure will end up benefiting most from it's passage if they don't graduate before the first deadline. I feel as though the central arguments for this fee includes "other schools have it and we need to be better," to which I would note we also have the highest campus-based fees. Should others aspire to that goal too? Washington Monthly didn't rank us 10th nationally because we're falling behind in service to our community and the environment. The Sierra Club recently designated the UC system (declaring any distinction between it's 10 campuses unnecessary) along with the Eco League colleges as stand-alone "shining stars" in eco-friendliness and environmental stewardship. This hardly makes a case for another fee to be assessed to students for capital improvements in the middle of this horrible economic climate. The Grant-Making body is ill-conceived, the timing is off, and it's usefulness can be characterized as a pet-project for students looking to write a senior thesis. —AndrewBianchi


2009-01-25 21:46:00   Do any of the organizers want to answer my first question? "We are in a period of rising fees and cuts to student academic resources. Why is it a priority to raise fees for "green projects" instead of raising fees for academic, counseling, technology resources?" —JamesSchwab


2009-01-27 22:56:59   First, the bylaws would help voters. However, they are not currently available because we were getting signatures and our priority was to ensure the initiative makes it to the ballot (which the signatures are for). Once that is accomplished the bylaws will be made available.

Second, please read over the current ballot. Because you will notice the Co-ops will work with RHAB to select a student within student housing. Also, you are misinformed regarding the grant coordinator. The position is part-time and not a full-time position. The part-time position is there to adequately promote and assist undergraduates with the grant application process. In regards to an un-paid student versus the grant coordinator, CFC and TGIF are not the same. Therefore, why compare? CFC grants top out at $2,000 per submission (per club, per year). TGIF could have grant applications for significantly more funds and reach beyond SPAC clubs. Also, the applicants may need assistance with contacts in administration, facilities and what will be a more rigorous grant application than for CFC.

I understand the concern about raising fees on students. Yet, $4 ($12 a year) seems insignificant when compared to the nearly $10,000 a year cost to attend UC Davis (not including housing, food etc.). It is similar to giving up a Starbucks once a quarter for The Green Initiative Fund. I believe TGIF is asking students to make a small sacrifice to better themselves and the UC Davis campus As far as timing, when do you propose? Should we wait for others to do such an initiative for us? I believe not.

In summary, you seem to be an intelligent person through our encounters. I presume that you have posted such misinformation not as a result from misreading the ballot, but as some ill-conceived attempt to create a basis for your opposition to TGIF. To the comment below, I believe it is important to raise funds for TGIF because nothing exists like this to benefit students. The most important factor is not if I feel this fee is important enough but do other students. Interestingly enough, we achieved our goal for signatures and expect official approval this week. Additionally, students voted to increase fees by $61 per quarter for Division 1 athletics beginning in 2006-2007. Do I really need to compare $4 to $61? I am also aware that UC Davis has the highest fees of all campuses; however, in an article from ucdavis.edu I found:

“While campus-based fees are higher for UC Davis' undergraduates than for other UC undergrads, the total cost of attending UC Davis ranks near the bottom. UC Davis this year ranks No. 7 among UC's eight general campuses when total expenses are calculated for those living on campus and No. 8 for those living off campus.”
-[WWW]http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=6295

I appreciate constructive concerns, comments and ideas. To everyone reading this wiki page, thank you for visiting-even if you are in no longer in Davis or a student.


2009-01-28 23:34:25   TGIF feels like a large expenditure when there are so many other projects on campus that need funding. I use the Learning Skills Center which has saved me and my fellow students from failing the difficult and impersonal large lecture hall style classes such as 118 Chem series. I hear that they are being cut consistently making the tutors less able to deal with the individual hurting the overall education. Why arn't we funding these great programs instead.

This money should go to ensuring students have a better education. And do we really need another tax on students? The governor and regents have been raising our tuition all the time. These $4 here and $15 there all add up on the long run to huge fee increases forcing people to drop out of school because they can no longer afford an education.

TGIF is the last thing students need, having fellow students increase our cost of education while the governor is balancing the budget on the back of the students. —DonGibson


2009-01-29 02:09:38   BrianSeaby - the link you posted claiming UC Davis has the third lowest fees in UC is from 2003. Things have changed a lot since then. —OscarSabino


2009-01-30 06:57:37   The exact same "it's only $4" can be made for any new fee for any popular project or resource. UCD going more green would be amazing, but increasing fess at a time of financial collapse, curtailed admission, and rising regular fees, is ridiculous. Why not set up a body to write grants for federal funds? Why not start a campaign to divert some of the bookstore profits away from CURB and to TGIF? —JamesSchwab


2009-01-30 14:59:34   I honestly don't understand why people are accusing the people behind TGIF of being without good ideas. When I was on the Business and Finance Commission, I saw people like Brian Seaby come to ASUCD for funding. We saw quite a few projects that would qualify for TGIF funding in fact. And the answer was always no because there wasn't enough money and we didn't offer them any alternatives. We in ASUCD were the people without ideas. And so through a fee-based initiative, they have sought to correct the failures to obtain funding.

Sure a fee increase is an unfortunate thing, I know this. But what else can we do but sit around and wait for better leadership in the state of California. I don't think we should tell students to put their dreams and visions on hold. Ultimately a lot of the arguments against TGIF are valid, I completely understand the financial struggles of students. Whether this passes or not, students are going to feel the burn. TGIF did in fact have to take their fee increase to the people and despite the weather working against them, they were able to sell the idea to thousands of students.

So we can debate, but the students will decide.

And if the past four ASUCD presidents have not been able negotiate to get a decent cut of the US Bank deal in return for losing the East Conference Room, then how can you expect the people behind TGIF to collect anything near $200,000 from CURB. It sounds great but really?

TGIF is the only solution that isn't waiting around for Sacramento to change. —GregWebb


2009-02-05 21:50:20   Wow. Wow. The two things I'm wowing about: Is DCD running a campaign to keep taxes (fees) low? CFC is supposed to be an example of a well run organization? Y'all are keeping life crazy. —BrentLaabs


2009-02-07 00:50:18   On a personal level, I have a lot of respect for the opponents of this measure, but unfortunately I have to disagree rather strongly with their positions.

In my mind, the issue is rather simple. Should students take on issues that exist beyond the walls of campus. Should students use collective resources to tackle the issue of climate change. The answer is simply yes.

Schwab's (and others') issue of raising student fees during economic recession. Those affected by hard economic times are not looking at their ASUCD fee with fear, theyre looking at their thousands of dollars of tuition, their rent, their book prices, their food, and most of all, their debt. Peake is not the only one talking about Davis having the highest fees already. Personally as a student, I was proud of us having high fees and great services. I was proud that we had a powerful student government that could actually affect changes that students wanted because we had a budget that mattered. The level of control students have at davis is great compared to other UCs, but still somewhat weak compared to other campuses in the country.

We have a President that is callig a on a country to dig itself out of the muck by leading the world in sustainability, education, healthcare, and other cost heavy, big reward areas. There's a reason for this it aint just fixing the economy.

I learned a lot from hours upon hours upon hours of pledging students for CALPIRG. I think what struck me the most is how ready and willing our students are to pitch in to take on the bigger issues of the day. I think if you asked the question simply and you thought Davis students would disapprove, you are underestimating aggies. Time and again, davis students have come through in support of these things.

Throw all the process and background stuff aside. The issues is simple. Do aggie students support these programs? I would bet the answer is yes. —MikeReagan


Mike! Long time no see! I hope life is treating you well.

I appreciate your input on this and would like to address your concerns about the con argument. I would love to see Davis as a greener campus, but I see the current set up of TGIF rife with problems. Yet these are fixable if people were to sit down and rewrite the petition taking into account the concerns of the No campaign. TGIF is a copy of the program as it is at other UC campus, but I think it is performing horribly over there primarily due to it being way over-budgeted for the amount of interest there is in it(resulting in student money being wasted). If they start with a smaller amount and fix the problems with the grant committee I would stand behind it. Honestly, in its current form I would like it to fail, but my hope is that the proponents of this bill take my constructive criticisms and use them (and the critiques of others) to rewrite it next year. I think it worth waiting one year so that we don't have a TGIF that promotes the environment with a side helping of disservice and waste. Instead, we can have a TGIF that works effectively and efficiently for the students.


Ten Reasons to Vote No on The Greed Initiative Fund

  1. It make highest fees even higher. Due to previous fee referenda such as SASI, FACE, and CEI, the student fees at UC Davis are already the highest of any public university in California. Can you afford to pay another $12 a year for capital projects when the campus already gets over $800 a year for campus building projects?

  2. It sends the wrong message. This is time when the State of California is facing its worst budget defecit ever, and legislators cannot comprimise on tax increases and spending cuts. This sends the message to the state that students are willing to pay higher fees right now, so maybe another 10% fee increase wouldn't be so bad. A yes vote would cripple our lobbying efforts for access and affordability for your education; your no vote tells Sacramento that we can't take fees any higher.

  3. The initiative is poorly written. As it is, it requires that money from TGIF be used for "sustainable development by providing necessary resources" to UCD and that this Grant-Making Committee enact "develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects." But it never mentions what kind of sustainability. Is it environmental or economic sustainability that we're talking about here? Due to this vague language, what is now an idealistic project could become yet another slush fund for campus administrators.

  4. Inadequate student representation. If this is all money that is going to be spent on student projects, why have half of the Grant Making Committee be non-students? In circumstances like this, the party with institutional memory (i.e. Administrators) will always dominate the committee. Students should determine the use of their own voluntary fees, such as in ASUCD, the Club Finance Council, or through other campus committees.

  5. The wrong vision. Barack Obama issued a call for us to promote environmental stewardship and be willing to sacrifice. But students should be making the sacrifice to be the best students they can be — so they can solve the problems our future with knowledge — not struggling to survive in school by working long hours. This university should ask alumni to improve our campus, not ask students for yet another sacrifice. Tax those who can afford it, not those of us with an ever increasing student loan debt.

  6. Efficiency projects are supposed to save money. Many of the capital projects that this initiative was designed to create will actually save the Administration money. Solar panels save on electric bills, and electric vehicles will replace our aging cars. And yet, the cost savings we get won't make our fees go down — we'll still be paying $12 a year for projects that generate revenue for campus.

  7. Perpetual Fees. Many of us want to support TGIF, because we see it as the Bike Church Enablement Act. I too would like to see the Bike Church return to campus. However, this is a perpetual fee, not just funding for a one time project. Future generations will have to cope with this fee, just like every other one that has passed before.

  8. Funding the wrong people. ASUCD has not increased its fees in thirty years, but every five years or so, we pass another slush fund for the Administration. So while student entertainment, environmentalism, advocacy all dwindle, this will create yet another program to let other people manage student money. It's time that students began believing in themselves, and not in the power of campus administrators.

  9. No oversight. The Grant-Making Committee is a kingdom onto itself, with no oversight or veto on how the fees are spent. They write their own bylaws, and only one member (the ASUCD President) is elected by the students whose fees are being spent. At other UC campuses with similar fees, this has resulted in $10,000 urinals and other fiascoes. This is likely to continue at UC Davis, where the directors of environmental units will oversee how funding is spent on environmental units. The Grant-Making Committee will provide pretend oversight to this cozy conflict-of-interest setup.

  10. A poorly concieved plan. Environmental sustainabilty is an admirable goal. But an initiative that does not even use the phrase "environmental sustainability" is an instrument ill-suited to that goal. It would be hard to think of a worse time to try to achieve that goal than in the midst of a financial catastrophe at a public university with the highest fees in the state. Do you really trust the initiative sponsors to truly achieve a more environmentally sustainable campus with a poorly written, improperly timed, oversight-free policy?

    BrentLaabs


2009-02-17 22:24:45   It will be rather comical if Joe and Chris win on Friday and TGIF doesn't or visa versa. It was Joe's lack of leadership over the past 8 months, I believe, that lead to the poorly structured initiative. I would even wager a guess to say that he kept TGIF under his purview and away from the public in order to use it for political capital this election. If the Yes on TGIF campaign had hosted townhall-esque meetings, or had they incorporated a wider range of elected officials in it's construction, TGIF wouldn't be wrought with failure (if not elective failure, than operational). However, TGIF was written behind closed doors in such a fashion that it has now been met with great disapproval by many campus leaders, and hopefully this will be reflected in the vote. It also goes to show that while the Aggie endorsements are always a prize in ASUCD election, their quality is generally lacking. How the editorial board of the Aggie urges students to vote No on TGIF, but then contradicts themselves by recommending a vote for all it's major proponents running for ASUCD elective office boggles my mind.

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