Though I’ve never experienced the college dorm setting in my lifetime, I have spent far too much of my time watching TV shows focusing on the college dorm (Gilmore Girls anyone?). So this story has a little bit of a soft spot with me, on top of the fact that it is just really cool environmental awareness and friendliness.
Students at Sarah Lawrence’s Warren Green Hall will this fall be composting together, monitoring their electricity usage and drying their dirty laundry on a clothesline. They’ll be sharing appliances, cooking and shopping together too, to reduce waste and energy, and using the electric light as little as possible.
And on the face of it, the students couldn’t be happier with the idea. “It means a lot to me that the college is thinking about this really seriously,” says Justin Butler, the co-founder of Sustainable SLC (Sarah Lawrence College), which partnered with the school on the green residence house, and only 20 years old. “It’s very different if it’s just students working for this as opposed to it being a joint effort.”
Many colleges have been environmentally friendly for some time now, well ahead of the curve in having communal campus cleanups and recycling efforts, often led by the students. But now the students and their parents are looking to where they will be staying. Mark Cunningham, director of housing and dining at the University of California, San Diego, notes that prospective parents and students are actively asking about sustainability.
Colleges are also beginning to brag about their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificates, awarded by the US Green Building Council. So far there are a total of 236 LEED-certified buildings on college campuses across the country, and another 1,547 in the process of being registered.
So though I may never get the chance to live in a college dorm, I do applaud what the American colleges are doing in what is yet another group looking to a sustainable future.