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Posted 10/03/03, by James Donnelly
Residence hall room models sustainability
Vicki Allen '06 and Anne Raymond '06 have decided to go green with their residence hall room this year, and they don't mean the wall paper.
The two Dartmouth sophomores are the first residents in Dartmouth's environmentally sustainable residence hall room, which was dedicated Sept. 23 with speeches from Dartmouth President James Wright and other Dartmouth administrators as well as a student involved with the project.
The new room, located in Lord Hall, will showcase environmentally sustainable living practices including the many choices students (and the rest of us) can make to live in a more environmentally harmonious manner, organizers said.
These choices are as much evidenced by what the room does not contain as what it does. Allen and Raymond do not have an in-room refrigerator or a printer - choosing to use the more environmentally friendly hall refrigerator and Green Print systems instead. They use laptop computers instead of desktops, have a corded phone instead of a power-hungry portable phone with charger and employ lamps and focused light whenever possible instead of high-energy full room bulbs. They also use long-lasting and low wattage compact florescent lights, and employ a drying rack for their clothes rather than using the electric clothes dryers in the basement.
"I picture the room as a place to try doing everything right, proving that it can be done without a lot of extra effort. Simplicity and low cost will be key, both for me and Vicki and for those whom we encourage to follow our example," Raymond said.
"I hope to show [the model residence room] off. Showing the Dartmouth community the potential for improvement will be a great way to encourage that first step towards helping the environment in any way they can," said Allen.
Periodically Raymond and Allen will open their room to their peers and the public to highlight the technologies and techniques they'll be utilizing to make their room as environmentally sustainable as possible. They say they look forward to campus visits by prospective Dartmouth students as a particular opportunity to spread their message.
"Whether they ultimately come to Dartmouth or not," said Allen, "we'll be demonstrating practices that can be duplicated in virtually any room across the country, and hopefully they'll take a little of that back with them."
At the room's dedication President Wright said: "The opening of this room, located at the heart of the student community, with its Energy Star products, is a wonderfully imaginative tool for teaching our environmental responsibilities. As an institution we have strived to institutionalize policies and practices that support a responsible, sustainable, and respectful use of resources."
Joining Wright were James Larimore, Dean of the College; Berry Scherr, Provost; John Gratiot, Associate Vice President for Facilities Operation and Management; and Brent Reidy '05, coordinator of Dartmouth's Environmental Conservation Organization, one of the groups that oversaw the project.
"I hope that every student, old or new, will contemplate their actions and be conscious of the environmental implications of each and every decision they make," said Reidy. "This model residence hall room can serve as an example of small changes we can all make to our lifestyles that sum to make a difference."
Reidy noted that Freya Sachs '04, Sylvia Chi '05 and Cat Roberts '05, all interns for Resource Working Group, were integral to the project's completion.
"The creation of the model residence hall room is a vivid example of what is possible when student energy and administrative support come together," said Larimore. "Anne and Vicki are leaders in expanding the mission of residential education at Dartmouth, literally using their dorm room as a venue to educate their peers about the personal choices they make every day that have an impact on the environment."
Scherr noted in particular the efforts of Gratiot and of Larry Litten, Director of Institutional Research, who as co-chairs of the Resource Working Group, "have helped to implement various initiatives that both educate people broadly and that alleviate the College's impact on the environment."
The project was sponsored by Dartmouth's Resource Working Group, the Office of Residential Life and the Environmental Conservation Organization.
- By James Donnelly
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