With the middle of the semester of fast approaching, everything in the house is begging to come together. The new members are taking steps to start living in a more sustainable way. This could have come about as a result of our environmental psychology projects. My project promoted buying locally, Hannah’s looked at decreasing water usage by taking shorter showers, Aly’s compared our house to one of the other houses on campus, and Ellen’s made us more conscious about our food waste. I think that we all enjoyed Hanna’s the most because it was competition based. This made us compete to see who could find new ways to take the shortest shower, while still getting clean. This was difficult for me since there are days where I will take two showers, one after working out and one after rugby practice. I was able to get my average shower time around 2 minutes and 30 seconds by simply turning off the water when it was not needed. I also reduced my shower time by going to the gym prior to practice, that way I would only need to take one shower. It will be interesting to see if shower times get longer now that the competition is over. I am going to continue my new habits throughout the rest of the year and encourage the other house members to do the same. Since we are still keeping track of our shower times, we will most likely continue Hannah’s project by setting new shower times for the members.
Aside from the projects, we are also applying what we are learning in other classes to the house. In mine and Ellen’s environmental sociology class we are currently reading The Story of Stuff. This book has really begun to open our eyes to what goes into the production and consumption of products that we use in our everyday lives. The book describes and gives examples of the extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal process of material objects throughout the world. I would like to show the twenty minute short to either the campus or to groups who tour the house as a way to help educate them on lifecycle of their favorite products.
We have also figured out what our house project is for the fall semester. Since we give tours of the house we are planning on making informational posters for each of the common rooms in the house. The posters will have facts about the appliances in the room and ways to reduce the environmental footprint of the room. It is our goal to better educate the Albright and local community on how simple changes in the house can have major impacts on the environment.
One thing that is for sure is that everyone is willing to work and try new things to live more sustainable. While it is hard to get college students to change their ways, I feel like we are beginning to make progress. Ultimately we want to make our presence on campus well known and continue to promote sustainability on the campus.