EcoReps Lead Sustainable Change in the Colleges

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Over the past year, EcoReps from each college have been working together to implement sustainability measures. Some of these projects focus on specific colleges, while others work on issues across campus. These projects cover a variety of topics, ranging from voter education to sustainable gardening.

EcoReps from all colleges worked together to write a Green Events Guide, which outlines ways to make events held at the colleges more sustainable. Some of the tips include purchasing supplies and food in bulk to reduce plastic from packaging, using reusable “greenware” to eliminate disposable serveware, and making note of what at the event is recyclable. The guide details more tips based on the size and type of event ranging from a Friday in the quad to a college government meeting. The EcoReps also compiled a list of candidates running in the 2018 Harris County midterm elections and each of their stances on issues related to sustainability. The guide broke down each of the races, highlighting important quotes from the candidates or their websites as well as discussing the backgrounds of the individuals. It covered a variety of relevant topics related to the environment, including the candidates’ stances on energy, air and water quality, land management, and coastal preservation. The EcoReps worked together to put together these two guides for students to make informed decisions in event planning on campus and voting at the midterm elections.

To add to the cross-campus efforts, there have been recycling stations installed around the university, aimed at collecting packaging materials and reducing e-waste. In addition to these campus-wide efforts, EcoReps have implemented a variety of new projects at their own colleges. At Brown College, EcoReps Sam Holloway and Grace Wickerson have been selling recyclable cups and leading an effort to add reusable mugs to the servery. EcoReps Ella Segal, Arisa Sadeghpour, and Noor Osmani at Wiess and Hanszen colleges have teamed up to host gardening parties. The group meets once a month at the Wiess community gardens to weed, plant, and harvest various produce. Currently the garden has varieties of lettuce, kale, bok choi, cabbage, and Asian greens. The produce has been used for a variety of events around Wiess and Hanszen, including a lettuce wrap party to highlight the sustainably grown food. At Sid Richardson College, EcoReps Claire Weddle and Madison Morris planted an herb garden for use by the chefs at their college. They began by purchasing a raised planter and starting seedlings indoors under a plant light. A few weeks later, they planted their variety of herbs, including: green basil, purple basil, thyme, marjoram, flat parsley, and oregano. The EcoReps also planted mint in a separate pot, and they received a rosemary plant as a donation. The Sid servery has since been using these herbs in their meals.

During the spring semester, EcoReps are continuing to work on projects in their own colleges and across campus to promote sustainability. The biggest initiative is the Green Dorm Initiative, a 2-week campus-wide student green living challenge. The Green Dorm Initiative takes place from February 18th to March 1st, and will feature many prizes. Students can sign up or of course ask their college EcoReps for more information about this or any other project or initiative.