Voting opened yesterday on the referendum for the three proposals on how to spend the $3.4 million generated from the Student Activities Fee Endowment reform. In December 2010, the student body voted to gradually change the fee from $100 to $150 in the 2012-2013 academic year. The money raised from the increase was available for proposals drafted by students and then determined by the Georgetown University Student Association. The projects were selected by a student commission from a wide range of plans last spring and finalized in the fall by GUSA’s Finance and Appropriations Committee. The university administration signed an agreement letter with GUSA Monday that ensures that the plans will instituted in the appropriate manner. Read on for details of each of the proposals up for a vote.

Social Innovation and Public Service Fund:

$1.25 million has been allocated to SIPS, a proposal that would provide financial support to students and alumni interested in pursuing innovative service projects or nonprofits. The fund would begin by allocating a total of $100,000 a year to be invested in grants, sponsorships and organization partnerships, while fundraising to increase its independent endowment.

New South Student Center:

The project allocates $2.04 million to expand a new student space already slated to be built in the lower levels of New South Hall by August 2014. The university’s plans include a pub, living room and open study space. The additional SAFE money would be used to construct an outdoor terrace on the south side of the building and improve the renovation’s first level. Together, these funds will increase the original floor plans by 21 percent.

Georgetown Energy:

$250,000 has been allocated to the student organization, which plans to install solar panels on the roofs of about 43 university townhouses. This measure could save the university almost $400,000 in energy costs over the next 20 years. The savings would be placed in a Green Revolving Loan Fund that will fund sustainable energy projects around campus. Ideas include solar-thermal water heating and using more efficient showerheads and light bulbs.

Each proposal must be passed by a majority vote. At least 2,000 students must cast their ballot in the election for it to be considered valid.

Money from any referendum that is not passed will not be redistributed to another plan; instead, new initiatives will be submitted for consideration for the remaining funds.

Check the email from GUSA that links to the online ballot, or stop by the new polling stations in O’Donovan Hall to cast your vote by Jan. 26.

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