Sustainability in Residence Life

Excerpt by Jenni Chadick, Assistant Director of Residence Life

Last Friday marks the end of Earth Week at Puget Sound, a week of programming and awareness around sustainability initiatives at Puget Sound. This, along with our recent naming as one of 322 “Green Colleges” (according to the Princeton Review) provides a great opportunity to share our top five strategies in Residence Life to make our living facilities more earth friendly.

5) the Live Green Challenge

Started in 2009, and revamped in 2012, the Live Green Challenge is an inter-hall competition to increase the amount of recycling and reduce the amount of trash produced by each residential community. The Residence Hall Association (RHA) tracks the amount of recycling collected each week, and compares this to a benchmark calculated the month prior. Whichever hall increases their amount of recycling wins! Aimed to educating students on sustainability on campus, this program is a great introduction for new students to the way to recycle at Puget Sound, and in Tacoma. This year’s winning team: Sewlangster – the portmanteau for Seward, Langlow, and Regester halls.

4) the Live Green House

As part of both an institutional and residential commitment to sustainability,  the Live Green House is a LEED Gold housing option for five lucky students. The house, a complete retrofit of an older home owned by the university, was completed in 2008. Some features include: 100% recycled particle board cabinetry, 55% recycled flooring, 50% post consumer recycled paint on all walls, solar power panels, ultra high efficiency HVAC system with no ozone-depleting refrigerants, Energy Star-rated appliances, low flow toilets and shower heads, a compost bin, and rain barrels to collect water for irrigation.  The residents of the Live Green House are supported and encouraged to participate in various campus initiatives around sustainability, and in 2011 the residents of the Live Green House purchased a composter that can be utilized by any residents living in the 50+ campus houses.

The Live Green House is a LEED Gold certified housing option for 5 lucky students

The Live Green House is a LEED Gold certified housing option for 5 lucky students

3)  Operation SAVE

In partnership with our Community Involvement and Action Center (CIAC) Operation SAVE (Sharing Abundance through Volunteer Efforts) Residence Life has helped students donate gently used items to community organizations during move out. Students often have too many items to pack, bring home, or utilize over the summer that those in the community can benefit from. For over 15 years this program has provided students a way to get rid of their stuff in a convenient way that benefits the community, AND diverts items from the waste stream. Prior to its inception, many students would simply throw away the clothes, small electronics, mirrors, or lamps they could not haul away. Donating items to be reused is an area of sustainability Residence Life cares deeply about, and is an often overlooked area of the “recycling” brand. Our students have been generous with this program, and in 2012 over 600 60-lb bags of items were donated to charity.

To read more click here to visit the Residence Life Blog.

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