GreenSpace is the newest special interest floor on campus, and its impact on students and faculty is already becoming evident across UR. GreenSpace originated as an impulsive idea between two friends in class. Program Director of GreenSpace Caitlyn Childress remembers talking with Vice President Ann Breed about the idea of a sustainability floor.
“It sort of started out as a joke,” Breed said.
It wasn’t until the two girls approached current President of GreenSpace and Susan B. Anthony Area Coordinator for EcoReps Alex David that the idea took hold.
“No, that’s not a joke — let’s do that,” David remembers saying about the potential for a sustainability floor.
Through David’s accrued resources as an EcoRep, and after much effort, GreenLife became an official Students’ Association club and Residential Life special interest floor.
The year has started out as a success for the group. There are slightly more than 50 active members, 17 of which live together on half of the first floor of Burton Hall, and the group is slated to be involved in several events this semester.
This weekend they are sponsoring Locafest, a fair where upstate New York groups come to teach students how to live more sustainably. Next weekend, they are participating in Greentopia, a festival that will take place in historic High Falls in downtown Rochester, to celebrate the green movement. On Nov. 15, America Recycles Day, the group will start a campus-wide push to promote sustainability. The members wouldn’t release more specific details about any events, but they did hint at an upcoming concert collaboration with the Music Interest Floor.
GreenSpace actively plans hall programs that further the mission to live sustainably and support local foods. The group plans hall dinners, which are open to all students and maximize sustainability, and the members are able to share new ideas they have about improving sustainability on the floor. The hall has been redeisgned as a comfortable environment where ideas are nurtured, according to David. If a group member suggests an idea that people agree on, it becomes “blown up real quick,” in the words of Childress.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines sustainability as “forms of human economic activity and culture that do not lead to environmental degradation.” GreenSpace members say they have adopted this idea as a lifestyle, and that it has become second nature to them. Members do simple things everyday to reduce their impact on the environment, and they claim that engaging in these activities brings them closer together, allowing them to share ideas about sustainability on campus.
This list of simple yet effective techniques to reduce environmental impacts is what defines the GreenSpace floor. Everthing down to the hallway decorations and nametags are made from recycled materials.
The number one thing members say they wish for is an established sustainability office where students and faculty could look for advice on living sustainably. They also hope that greater awareness might lead to a new major.
“Our initiative is to come together, learn from one another, and do our best to lead lives of environmental consciousness,” GreenSpace states as its mission on its blog.
For more information about GreenSpace visit their page on Facebook or email Anne Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duncan is a member of the class of 2014.