Dispatch from the Eco-House

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October 21, 2009

8:50 PM

“Getting Landrum to go co-ed was easy. Getting WM to go green? We’re working on it.”

This quote was one of the proposed ideas for the 2009-2010 Eco-House t-shirt. And it sums it up pretty well: Eco-House is the new co-ed sustainable living hall in Landrum basement. With 20 girls and eight boys, sometimes it seems a little less than co-ed, but no one seems to mind.

This is the Eco-House’s first year in action. The idea came about during discussion at SEAC’s Energy Campaign last year. Proposed by Lauren Edmonds ’11, Jeni Anderson ’11 and Judi Scalfani ’11, the Eco-House was approved by winter of last year. Residents filled out an application detailing their involvement with environmental interests, studies and activities, and biology and environmental science professor Randy Chambers made the final selections in February.

The Eco-House is completely student-run. We are split into three committees: the Programming Committee, which creates events that include film screenings, panel discussions, camping trips, and other social activities; the Resource Conservation Committee, which monitors our energy usage and works on using less in the dorm; and the Food Committee, which helps supply and cook food for our events.

The three committees work together to keep our hall as green as possible, and to give students on campus the opportunity to learn more about sustainability. So far, the Eco-House has had a canoe trip, a film screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car,” a potluck dinner, an open house and a camping trip to Chippokes State Park. Future events include co-sponsoring a panel discussion on climate change legislation, and a sustainable Thanksgiving dinner.

“I think the Eco-House provides students with a place to develop their environmental consciousness. We are all able to learn from each other and improve our efforts for sustainability together. Hopefully, our work will inspire the rest of campus and William and Mary can continue with its great progress on environmental sustainability,” Edmonds said.

The hall residents also feel very socially connected.

“I like the freshmen hall feel of Eco-House. It’s not like a usual upperclassmen dorm where no one knows each other,” resident Aurelia Elfstrom ’11 said.

It’s true: the majority of Eco-House residents either already knew each other or have quickly become friends. Many of us are environmental science minors and almost all of us are involved in SEAC or another environmentally related group on campus. We hope to get the word out about the Eco-House and what we’re doing, so that next year’s residents can continue the work that we’ve done. Look out for future events: we’ll be co-hosting a panel discussion on climate change legislation on Thursday, Oct. 29, and will be having another movie screening in early November. We’re always open to suggestions on what we can be doing, so shoot me an e-mail if you’ve got any ideas. And feel free to stop by, we might have our doors closed to reduce our use of heat, but figuratively speaking, our doors are always open!

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