Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Green Houses are the New College Dorms

- Lauren Silverman

Yesterday the New York Times featured a story on the “SEED House,” Oberlin College’s new sustainability house. In “sustainable” college houses, you are more likely to find people competing over who can take the shortest shower, not who can chug the most beer.

“Green living” isn’t only popular at hippie colleges such as Oberlin. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I go to school, some dorms and many cooperatives are taking a shot at sustainable living. A few weeks ago, when I was hanging out at a friend’s cooperative, I was chided for leaving on the bathroom light. My friend yelled, “We’re in an energy saving competition with the other cooperatives!" Compared to college dormitories and apartments, cooperatives are in a prime position to save both energy and money.

When you live in a cooperative you buy everything in bulk, reducing the price, packaging waste, and gas-guzzling trips to the grocery store. Communal living and cooking also helps cut down on the carbon footprint. In addition to greening daily routines, by turning off heaters and unplugging appliances, kids in cooperatives are greening the common house party. Just last month, Ann Arbor’s Luther House featured a “Go Local” party, where all the beer was locally made and to get in the door you had to “Bring Your Own Cup” aka "B.Y.O.C". Not only was this demand good for the environment, but it was good for conversation too. My friend’s polka-dot mug and my gold chalice were excellent ice-breakers.

Sustainable houses and parties are a great start. I just hope the green trend grows beyond the walls to surrounding college campuses.

1 comment:

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