Despite the fact that the class of 2017 is the largest class at UR yet, the number of applicants for the EcoReps program has been decreasing each year, according to Director of EcoReps Brittany Flittner.
“Usually the application process is through a paper application people submit with the housing form, but this year, the process went completely online,” Flittner said.
EcoReps are incoming freshmen with a desire to educate fellow students on environmental issues through hall programs and events. To become an EcoRep, incoming freshmen submit an application over the summer for consideration. This year, a change in the application process may have led to the decreased number of applicants.
One of two program coordinators for the EcoReps, sophomore Tyler Trine, thought that this online process might have contributed to the lower numbers.
“The application process, [online] for the first time this year, was not as well publicized as in previous years,” he said.
Flittner also acknowledged that the application made the roles and responsibilities of being an EcoRep more clear than in the past, possibly deterring incoming freshman who may not have wanted to make the commitment. EcoReps are required to take a two-credit class on recycling and energy conservation, update their hall’s bulletin boards, and plan hall programs.
Despite the decreased number of applicants, Trine shared a positive perspective.
“I don’t view [the decreased numbers of applicants] as inherently disadvantageous,” he said. “The applicants on the whole proved more invested in the subject since they sought out the opportunity themselves.”
Usually there are 30 EcoReps, which allows each freshman hall to have one representative. This year, however, one floor in Lovejoy Hall and one floor in Hoeing Hall don’t have EcoReps.
Freshman Som Liengtiraphan explained her reasoning for applying for the position.
“[I’m] passionate about helping preserve the environment,” Liengtiraphan said.
She also acknowledged the benefit of taking the required course and the advantages EcoReps receive such as free clamshells, free printing, and not having to pay a membership fee for Zipcar rentals.
Like Liangtiraphan, EcoRep and freshman Steven Trezzais is passionate about his role.
While being an EcoRep is “hard work,” he said the extra responsibilities have been “a positive experience, all well worth it, and for a good cause.”
Kim is a member of the class of 2017.