At the beginning of the semester, the challenge waged by the Office of Sustainability was to certify at least 25 percent of the residential space on campus in September as “Green Room Certified.” The response was overwhelming with organizers surpassing their goal with 228 rooms, or 26.8 percent of rooms certified, during the month of September.
Comstock Hall’s Pond View, which has 15 rooms and 29 students, was the first floor on campus to achieve 100 percent certification and was awarded the much coveted prize of brunch served on their floor.
“Winning the competition was never the main incentive to me. I was more interested in helping the EcoReps achieve their important goals,” says Comstock RA Carolyn Vasquez’13. “I am grateful to the program because it helped to build a community on my floor while the rooms were being certified.”
EcoRep Rachel Braccini ’15 coordinated the certification drive in Comstock in which they certified the entire first floor in one night.
In Jackson, Potter and Rees, 85 rooms were certified yielding a 40.5 percent certification rate for the home to many first-year students. In de Cordova, Emerson and Caird, 33.3 percent of spaces achieved green room certification.
In order to become “green certified,” students have to complete a checklist of standards that serve to dramatically reduce waste. The certification focuses on major areas of concern such as waste, energy use, transportation and water usage.
“The program is not just about changing lightbulbs and making sure that windows are closed,” explains Anna Dorman ’14, who is an EcoRep and worked on the program this summer. “It is also about having an important conversation with residents about small lifestyle changes they can make which cumulatively have a big impact. We hope to explain why students should care about turning off lights and keeping the window closed.”
RAs and EcoReps recently coordinated on a variety of events to get residents certified. Hannah Hood ’13, who lives in Comstock Hall created a tree which contained the names of those residents who have been certified.
Geneva Hall RA Sheridan French ’14 created an interactive map which indicated which rooms had achieved certification in order to motivate others. Bartlett Hall coordinated a group green room certification event around garbage plates, called “Talking Green Over Garbage.”
Jamie Landi, sustainability manager, is excited at the great participation rate. “At the beginning I felt that the 25 percent goal was incredibly aggressive and I am really impressed with the good work the Environmental Representatives put in during move-in and over the past four weeks to meet this significant objective.”
Green Room Certification is a program which is coordinated through the Office of Sustainability and carried out through the Environmental Representative program. This year, there are 40 EcoReps involved in the program who have volunteered their time to contribute to sustainability efforts on campus. Each EcoRep is assigned a specific area on campus in which they are responsible for coordinating green events and working with RAs to make sure that the building is functioning as sustainably as possible.
The photo above features the EcoReps.