Professor Alcala sent me a link to an article about the Oberlin sustainability house from yesterday's New York Times. It is a great story and definitely something that we could emulate here at Lasell. Essentially, Oberlin designated one house as the sustainability house and took applications from students who wanted to live in this environment. From there, students instituted creative ideas to reduce their footprint. Students collected water from the shower while it was warming up and used it for other purposes such as toilet flushing. They also put timing devices in the showers. I really like this idea and I think it would help to reduce the 9 million gallons of water Lasell uses each year.
We have a unique campus with many students living in residential settings that are more like homes than traditional college housing. We already have the Community Service House and the students living in this house have already taken on living more sustainably. However, I think it is time we expand and create a Sustainable Living House and really make a push for green college living. The students in this house will be innovators and experimenters who try out many ideas to reduce their footprint. In the end, these students will identify solutions that work for Lasell College and spread those ideas to other houses and students.
Bringing students interested in sustainability together in a residential house opens up the opportunity to explore so many issues in an applied setting. Students can evaluate electricity usage, natural gas usage, water consumption, and even the food they consume. A sustainability house would be a tremendous connected learning opportunity for students. Students would have the opportunity to explore solutions to the many environmental issues they are learning about in their classes. A sustainability house is something I would enthusiastically support, and I would gladly serve in an advisory role.
Oberlin has a culture that is very active in sustainability issues. They had 25 applications for the 5 spots in the sustainability house. I think our administration would support a sustainability house here at Lasell, but students would have to demonstrate interest.