Forty bucks per Buc. Forty dollars out of every full-time student’s pocket goes toward something new this semester. When you registered for classes at the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, you may or may not have noticed a subtle addition in the itemization of your campus fees. This new fee is simply referred to as the “Facilities Fee.”

To determine the purpose of tacking on another student fee, Director of ETSU Facilities Management Dan O’Brien said, “The idea [of the Facilities Fee] is to fund improvements and have as much of a student impact as possible,” O’Brien said.

He elaborates that the fee can only be used on things that apply directly to students. Furthermore, applying this student-centric model is the most important factor in actually deciding how the funds will be used.

“All faculty, staff and any employees or students can send in a proposal—it just has to meet the requirements,” O’Brien said.

The requirements for proposals are outlined on the ETSU Facilities Management web page in four simple criteria: Improvements in campus beautification, number of students impacted, project alignment with the campus master plan and improvements in campus infrastructure or maintenance.

What these criteria are calling for is a proposal application that will increase the visual appeal of campus, reach a multitude of individual students, coincide with ETSU’s strategic goals and/or provide a long-term improvement.

O’Brien also holds the job of maintaining the receipt of the new proposals, as well as arranging meetings and communicating with potential contractors to hash out the details of the “Facilities Fee” budget.

“I would love to see the program be successful and receive lots of proposals from out campus community,” O’Brien said. “This will be an ongoing process. Just because a proposal didn’t make it in this semester, it may make it in the next semester.”

If you are a faculty/staff member or a student and you have a certain vision, or dream of seeing your campus beautified, your classrooms updated or your experience at ETSU otherwise improved, be thinking of a proposal to submit for the spring 2017 semester. You could make a difference in your school’s community.

The fact that you paid 40 extra dollars this semester may have come to you as a surprise, but do not give in to misery, lamentation or rage, because this $40 fee could change ETSU for the better for the students.