Going Green Hits Dorm Life

Photo by Jed Fudally

It’s 7p.m. in the Sandburg dorms and Autumn Siudzinski, a senior resident assistant, is on duty for the night and about to begin her round up and down the South tower.

“We basically just go from floor-to-floor, not to intimidate anyone, just to make sure everything is okay,” she says.

Tonight, however, Siudzinski will be paying closer attention to speaking with residents in her tower about how to better use the recycling program in the dorms. In addition, she has a stack of flyers informing students what is acceptable to recycle and what isn’t.

“It’s a mess, people just don’t know where to put what in the garbage and recycling rooms. Most of the time, what they do put in the recycling is contaminated.”

Contaminated meaning there is still food or liquid left in the packaging.

“Many of the incoming freshmen may have never recycled before. It might sound crazy, but many of them just let their parents do take care of things like this.”

Over the past few years, University Housing has been taking steps to create a more sustainable living environment. Starting with the construction of the LEED certified Cambridge Commons dorm building. Now University Housing officials are looking at how they can change the daily habits of individual residents. University Housing Director, Matt Crouse, assembled a committee just for this purpose in July.

Heading the committee is Joshua Maxwell, Resident Life Coordinator for Sandburg East and Purin Hall.

“Sustainability is more than just recycling,” goes Maxwell.

“Recycling is important, but the committee is focusing on student life. There is so much more we can change about student life in the dorms to promote sustainability.”

Cambridge Commons was built with a green roof. On the green roof, vegetables are grown and served in the cafeteria for residents of the building. This idea has spread to Sandburg hall and several other campus buildings.

In the cafeterias, students can see which dishes were prepared with vegetables grown on the green roofs.

“It’s kind of neat,” says Siudzinski.

“It’s not something you would think would affect students, but even I have chosen a dish in the cafeteria after seeing it was made with vegetables grown right here.”

According to Joshua Maxwell, the new committee is looking at other programs and events they can begin that will involve students more directly.

“For the Spring, we’re looking into shutting down the shuttles for a day, and replacing them with bikes.”

The event would stop shuttle service that connects North and South campus, and instead, University Housing will bring in as many bikes as they can.

The event will encourage students to use bikes to travel between the two campus halves by bike instead of shuttle.

“Although, while we’re hopeful the event will be a success, we are still factoring a few cost and risk factors, so the event is still tentative.”