Inside the eco-house

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August 31, 2009

10:32 AM

The “eco-house” is the newest addition to campus special interest housing. Through some brief interviews and stalking, I bring you the latest on the College of William and Mary’s new environmentally-friendly dorm.

The “eco-house” is actually a hall in Landrum basement, and its purpose is to provide a place for the environmentally-conscious to share ideas and space. Residents will concentrate on living sustainably within the dorm, while also reaching out to the College community through various programs.

Because the “house” is actually a dorm, certain limitations apply to their lifestyle; for example, they cannot change the infrastructure of the building in any way, and the rest of Landrum may not like a compost pile in their basement.

“We can’t make any major changes to the building itself, so a lot of our initial work might be programming stuff like educational events or personal practices stuff,” resident Michelle McKenzie ’12 said.

The idea for an environmental dorm was approved last January and students registered in the housing lottery in April. The eco-house can also test policies made by the Committee on Sustainability, the administration’s new office to regulate sustainable practices on campus.

The hall is co-ed, with boys on one half of the hall and girls on the other half. This is the first co-ed hall in Landrum’s 51-year history as an all-female dorm.

I recently went to stalk this eco-house. There was a friendly dinner happening, but otherwise no one else was around at the time. So I read an informative bulletin board, where I discovered that there are 20 females and 8 males in the eco-house. There was also a previous attempt to start an environmentally-friendly dorm almost a decade ago, which apparently didn’t make it.

Though most people were gone during my visit, the eco-house residents I’ve met outside their dorm seem to be enthusiastic about the year.

“I chose to live here for the atmosphere, which I am very pleased with so far,” McKenzie said. “It is very freshman hall-like because everyone’s doors are open a lot and people can just pop in for a little chat.”

The eco-house is an exciting experiment in living for our campus, and hopefully the positive attitudes of the residents will make it a permanent fixture at the College.

“I chose to live here because I thought it was a really great opportunity to surround myself with people concerned about sustainability so we can hopefully learn from each other,” resident Lauren Edmonds ’11 said.

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