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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Eco-reps encourage students to make their dorm rooms ‘green’ certified

Published: October 30, 2009
Section: News

Green Rooms: This model “green room” in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium demostrates how students can help the environment in their everyday lives by conserving water and energy.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Green Rooms: This model “green room” in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium demostrates how students can help the environment in their everyday lives by conserving water and energy.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

A model ‘green room’ was displayed Thursday in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium, in order to demonstrate the university’s program piloted earlier this month by the Brandeis eco-reps, environmental advocates, and Students for Environmental Action (SEA).

In the corner of the atrium, the model stood as a mock dorm room, albeit with a bike and cardboard signs highlighting ways to save energy and thereby acquire green room certification. The green model as erected boasted signs reading, “Cut Down on Paper Towel Use,” and “Pedal!!! Don’t Drive around Waltham or Campus.”

The green room model was viewed as the best way to promote the certification program, but Siegel saw it as only a step in a long progression. “It’s a good process, it’s come along slowly, but I’m confident in my faith in the student body,” she said.

SEA had several members working directly on the program and in constructing the model. “The model is a really eye-catching way to get students’ attention for the Green Room program, and to encourage them to sign up,” Hannah Saltman ’12, SEA’s vice president, wrote an in e-mail to The Hoot.

The promoters wanted to use the actual presentation to advertise the environmental platform. “We were thinking, ‘What [was] the best use of our resources,’ as a way to promote the green room,” Janna Cohen-Rosenthal ’03, campus sustainability coordinator and eco-rep supervisor, said.

Associates for a green campus took turns stationed at the model, answering questions for would-be environmentalists. “It’s nice to see people, because the model gets more curious eyes,” Hannah Siegel ’10, a SEA member, said, “and hopefully their curious eyes will lead to some type of action.”

The green room, the newest green campaign, offers an individual aspect students can take personally.

“The program was instituted to give students small steps they can take to green their own individual behaviors. When a dorm room is stamped with a ‘Green Certified’ seal, it gives students the opportunity to publicly show that they are making a difference with their actions and that their peers can as well,” Saltman wrote.

The university program allows students to obtain a certificate if they promote green living through a number of room adaptations, including energy-saving electrical habits like pulling out chargers as well as using cold water and recycling, as previously reported in The Hoot.

The initiative has had over 180 sign-ups so far, according to Saltman. “Our ultimate goal would be for everyone at Brandeis to have a green-certified dorm room or suite,” she wrote.

Broadening in scope, she also talked about the success of other green projects SEA and the university are pursuing and the green room’s relationship to them.

“Like the green fees campaign—where the concept is of each student contributing—it generally has been received well,” Siegel said.

The green movement on campus as a whole is experiencing success, as Siegel views it. “It’s a good ‘energy,’ pardon the pun, in the people, with [the movement] having the backing of seemingly the entire student body,” she said.

At the green room model site Thursday, future SEA and eco-events were also advertised, including upcoming “Meatless Mondays,” where students would voluntarily not eat meat on Mondays to conserve energy and lessen their impact on the environment.

In addition, SEA will take part in The Leadership Campaign, a youth campaign during which activists spend Sunday nights sleeping on Boston Common to convince the Massachusetts Legislature to commit to ensuring the state run on entirely clean energy within 10 years.