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Sustainability continues to be a focus for student government

Eco-RepsThis year, more than 60 Eco-Reps educated students about sustainability through events, activities, and campaigns to create a lasting culture of sustainability at NU. Eco-Reps focus on empowering students that aren’t already engaged in the environmental movement, making sure they have the necessary resources to make greener choices. Eco-Reps offer three programs, focusing on students living in the Residence Halls and Residential Colleges, Greek houses, and off-campus housing.

This year, they worked closely with the Associated Student Government Sustainability Committee (ASG SusCom) to start plastic bag recycling in Norris University Center, in addition to the electronic waste, battery, paper, plastic, and glass recycling programs already in place on campus. Additionally, they hosted a scavenger hunt for more than 50 students where they learned about the various sustainability initiatives, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, water refilling stations, bike repair stations, and solar panels on NU’s campus.

They put on a Living Green Fair for more than 100 students, asking Evanston experts to share how to conserve energy, save water, eat locally, reduce waste, travel sustainably, and purchase consciously as an off-campus student. During this event, students took the opportunity to commit to living more sustainably by taking the Green Pledge and Green Space Certification. Eco-Reps held a “Take it or Leave it,” clothing swap to encourage students to trade clothes instead of buying new. Eco-Rep also hosted an Earth Hour event, encouraging students living on-campus to turn off their lights and electronics for one hour and meet in the Foster-Walker basement. More than 150 students attended for refreshments and entertainment, including percussion ensemble “Boom Shaka” and a capella group “Not Our Forte.”

Off-Campus Eco-Reps initiated the first off-campus Green Cup competition this year. More than 40 students living in apartments and houses across Evanston earned points by attending events and posting pictures of sustainable habits, such as switching light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs, biking to class, and utilizing reusable materials. Off-campus Eco-Reps also created the Green Home Checklist, a list of questions to ask landlords to determine the green features of an apartment or house.

Next year, Eco-Reps will look to increase their impact through developing new and innovative sustainability-focused events and programs. They will also work with ASG SusCom and the Residence Hall Association to ensure there are sustainability components, such as collecting composting or Green Pledge commitments, at existing events. They are excited to focus on organizing events specifically for the Greek community to increase their environmental engagement. Finally, they hope to begin collecting ink cartridges in the mailrooms next year. Be on the lookout for new and exciting programs and campaigns to come via Eco-Reps Facebook page!