Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Eco-reps to certify sustainable ‘green rooms’

Published: October 16, 2009
Section: News

The Brandeis Sustainability Initiative will now grant students the opportunity to live in certified “green rooms” in recognition of environmentally responsible goals and practices.

The program keeps with the university’s stated mission of efficiency and reducing its collective eco-footprint by 2050.

“We have launched this program, to be done with the eco-reps, in partnership with [Students for Environmental Action],” Campus Sustainabiliy Coordinator Janna Cohen-Rosenthal ’03 said. “This year, we wanted to do so many things at once, [so] we came up with a pledge…you can certify green buildings, organic food, so why not?”

Students can be awarded the certification sticker by combating environmental waste in a number of ways, including using low-energy light bulbs or electronics, recycling, or composting waste before trashing, and doing laundry with cold water and a simple drying rack.

Volunteering with certain clubs or taking an environmental studies class will also bring a student closer to the green medal. Students for Environmental Action (SEA), whose membership counts toward this activist component, is the largest environmental group on campus, and has been increasingly involved in greening the university.

“In SEA, we will be mainly working on promoting this new initiative. We plan to set up a mock dorm room in the [Shapiro Campus Center] atrium stacked full of ‘Green’ features. We will also be providing other campus-wide promotion so that this great idea can be picked up by students across the campus,” SEA President Matt Schmidt ’11 wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot.

The list of the many possible ways to contribute is provided in a checklist at Brandeis sustainability’s green room web site.

By checking off 10 green activities, students can sign up for an inspection by their residence hall or quad eco-rep, who will offer certification stickers.

“Eco-reps aren’t going to audit or anything,” Cohen-Rosenthal said, “but we want to make sure, since it’s for [the environment]. Things students are already doing or are going to do can count. We want the program to be simple…pick 10 things of 20, and you get a sticker and maybe a prize,” she added, referring to the special incentives certain quads are offering for the number of green rooms.

The eco-reps will tally the amount of environmentally green certificates and hand out prizes, including free pizza or an “eco-friendly ice cream party,” according to a Department of Community Living e-mail sent to the student body.

The expenses are incurred in the name of a greater benefit, Schmidt explained.

“This program will make students think about their day-to-day living decisions and how they affect the sustainability of this campus. We hope that through positive recognition, this program will create greener dorm rooms across campus.”