The Green Room Certification Program (GRCP) is in full swing in the residence halls at IU. During the Energy Challenge IU certified its first “green rooms!” In just a few weeks, there are now nearly 50 rooms certified!
The GRCP was developed by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with Residential Programs and Services (RPS) and Residence Halls Association (RHA). The program allows students to certify their room simply by going to the website, www.indiana.edu/~greenrm, selecting criteria for living sustainably in their residence halls and on campus more generally, and pledging to follow the selected guidelines.
The aim of the GRCP is to 1) provide students living in the residence halls a model for living sustainably in their rooms and beyond, 2) connect students to community and campus organizations, as well as faculty working on sustainability-related projects, 3) provide students a framework for educating their peers about sustainability and to connect with one another.
Students are required to meet 20 of the 40 criteria that are set out on the website. Some of the criteria may be actions the student is already performing such as using natural light during the day or turning off the water while brushing their teeth; while other criteria provide innovative new ways to reduce the students’ ecological footprint on campus. Students may pledge to follow as many of the guidelines as they like, so long as they meet the minimum of 20.
Hannah Coots, an IU sophomore and RHA ecoRep, has certified her room and encouraged other students in her building to do the same. During the Energy Challenge, Coots encouraged students in her building to certify their rooms by holding a “Greeniest Floor Competition”. From the competition, around 40 rooms became certified!
This program not only provides students a framework for how to live sustainably in a residence hall setting, but also gives them the ability to demonstrate how they are living sustainably, and be recognized for doing so. Once a student certifies, they are sent a certificate to be hung on the outside of their door, indicating that their room has been certified.
Upon receiving her certificate and recognizing her room was officially certified, Coots felt that the certificate served as an encouragement to “keep it up,” and to strive to follow more of the criteria. We hope Coots’ enthusiasm spreads and others will increase the number of criteria they follow too.
As certificates get hung on doors and the program is popularized more and more students will commit to green behavior by certifying their rooms. I would love if by the end of the academic year, 100 rooms were certified.
This program has enormous potential to maximize the impact students can have by enabling them to live sustainably in their rooms and facilitating relationships with other like-minded students and sustainability-related campus and community organizations.
Similarly to the Energy Challenge, this program hopes to instill green-living habits into participants. These changes, when performed collectively, have the ability to decrease the ecological footprint of Indiana University, while saving the University money through the conservation of natural resources. Further, the program aspires to connect students to their peers, faculty, and sustainability organizations, in order to heighten the potential for collaboration and innovation at Indiana University.
If you have suggestions, want to learn more or certify your room, visit the website at www.indiana.edu/~greenrm, or email at email@example.com. We welcome any feedback you may have regarding the program.
Written by: Bridget Flynn, Sustainability and the First Year Experience Coordinator