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Students help Orientation ‘GO GREEN’

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: Features


PHOTO COURTESY OF Robyn Blumberg

It seems that there is a constant buzz around campus discussing the state of Brandeis sustainability and urging the campus to go greener. Most of the time this buzz remains, but amid this aundance of talk a group of classmates were inspired by a final project to move towards green action. Together, they set out to make Brandeis Orientation a more eco-friendly insitution.

Robyn Blumberg ’11, Jordan Longert ’11, Amira Mintz-Morgenthau ’12 and Elana Reinholtz ’11 teamed up to create a more sustainable orientation.

Their project, entitled GO (Getting Orientation) GREEN & Beyond, was born out of the final assignment for Professor Laura Goldin’s “Greening the Ivory Tower: Improving Environmental Sustainability of Brandeis and Community” class.

Students in this unique class focused upon experiential learning and community involvement. They were given the respon- sibility of creating and implementing an original initiative with the aim of improv- ing sustainability within the Brandeis or greater Waltham community.

According to team member Elana Rein- holtz, the four girls “hoped to achieve mak- ing a sustainable impact on the Brandeis campus and its students.” Reinholtz hopes “that all of our work transmits an energy into other students helping to make Bran- deis a greener place and will hopefully in- spire them to make an impact like we did.” She added that ultimately, “all the work we did was extremely fulfilling and we enjoyed each component.”

The project consisted of several seg- ments, which all worked together towards an ultimate goal of improving orientation sustainability.

First, a green quiz developed by Amira Mintz-Morgenthau with the help of sus- tainability coordinator Janna Cohen- Rosenthal. The quiz, modeled after the al- cohol awareness quizzes that many college students are required to take part in before they begin their first year at university, was designed with the intention of educat- ing new students about sustainability and providing a few choice topics, detailing the intricacies of being eco-friendly in college. The quiz was taken by 51 midyear students, eight of whom received prizes for their par- ticipation.

Another facet of the GO GREEN & Be- yond project was a re-imagining of the con- ventional campus tour with the Eco-Tour.

The traditional tour was expanded and Mid-Year Mentors were trained to bring every midyear orientation group to visit specific “green” locations throughout cam- pus. The students learned about some of the amazing environmental places around Brandeis, including the “no-mow” lawn, the porous pavement and its purpose, the new Mandel Humanities Center and the Solar Panels on Gosman Athletic Center.

The next part of the GO GREEN & Be- yond project was the Give and Go, an event which provides students about to go abroad the opportunity to drop off un- needed belongings before heading over- seas. Although the Give and Go event was not created specifically for GO GREEN & Beyond, the team worked hard to promote and publicize the event. Many of the used goods were donated to More than Words, Bristol Lodge, Mary’s House and Global Thrift in Waltham.

The goods that weren’t donated were available to midyears and other returning students for purchase at the Move in Mar- ket. All proceeds from the Move in Market went to the Emergency Financial Assist- ance Program at the WATCH Housing Ad- vocacy Clinic, a nonprofit organization in Waltham.

The final piece of the greening process featured a nod towards the future. The GO GREEN & Beyond project sought to pro- vide every midyear student with a bamboo flash drive filled with all Orientation ma- terials in the hope of cutting down paper usage. Unfortunately, the group did not receive enough funding to purchase the flash drives; however, project organizers were able to send out a mass e-mail to all midyears with the GO GREEN & Beyond informational presentation, the 2010-2011 CORE Committee introductory video and other resource materials.

According to Longert, “the project went swimmingly.” Though the GO GREEN & Beyond project had its turbulence, she is glad to “be leaving Brandeis having suc- cessfully paved the way to having a more green orientation as a step to a more sus- tainable campus overall.”

Along with Blumberg, Reinholtz and Mintz-Morgenthau, Longert knows that she is “leaving our legacy in a way that I had never imagined and I am so glad to have been a part of this project.” The team “put in a lot of time, effort and hard work into our vision of making orientation green and I know that we succeeded!”

In regards to the future of the program, Longert expects orientation to be changed for good. She believes that the sustainable nature of the program will cause it to be “implemented into future Orientation. By teaching the incoming students that Bran- deis is taking a serious stand and making changes to better our environment, we will help our community understand the consequences of their actions and choices which they will take with them beyond their Brandeis years. Our goal was to give new students tips and an understanding of how to make green lifestyle choices, which we hope will not only resonate with them while they are students here, but also to life after Brandeis. I think I can safely say for all of the GO GREEN & Beyond seniors that all that we have learned from creating the program, will stay with us when we gradu- ate in May and beyond!”