Students have a new alternative when it comes to green living. The new Group Residence for Environmental Engagement at Northwestern, which opened in the fall, is home to around 40 students.
Jesse Sleamaker, co-chair of Students for Ecological and Environmental Development, called it "a groundbreaking event in Northwestern history."
SEED championed the creation of the environmentally friendly residence, housed in the former Transfer House on north campus. The residents, chosen through an application process, are encouraged to recycle, dry their clothes on racks and use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Composting is also being considered.
During the summer, Facilities Management installed dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads and faucets, compact fluorescent light bulbs and motion sensors on lights in the bathrooms and laundry room. Residents are working on a proposal to install a solar panel on the roof. The Northwestern University Solar Car Team would donate the solar cells.
Residents will also focus on education, hosting environmental leaders for fireside chats and developing a library of environmental-themed works.
Sleamaker, a senior political science and comparative literature major from San Francisco, co-wrote the proposal for the residence with GREEN president Jackie Beard, a sophomore environmental sciences major from Hockessin, Del. The proposal stressed the role of GREEN as a model for the entire Northwestern community. The goal is for other students and residential colleges to use GREEN as a blueprint to change their own habits.
"I think the fact that the University has taken the steps to create GREEN shows that they are responsive to what students are passionate about," Sleamaker said. "We need to continue to make sure that we're examining our usage. It's a community of thought and examined lifestyle."
— Elizabeth Weingarten (J10)