In an effort to increase environmental awareness and responsibility among students, Dr. Robert Forman and the Earth Club have instituted a program promoting “Green Dorm Rooms” in order to promote sustainability in the resident village.
Erin Chalmers, a senior and co-president of the Earth Club, grew up in Alaska where environmental consciousness is expected. Since coming to St. John’s, she has searched for outlets to express her passions and fortunately discovered the Earth Club to aid in finding more productive ways to protect the Earth.
Dr. Forman has also been an active participant in conserving the environment. From his experience with his family’s victory garden in 1941, to his present day choice to walk to classes rather than use a car, he is a prime example of someone who values sustainability as well as preserving the welfare of the planet .
“The problem with the environmental movement is it is often identified with ideology,” said Forman. “Real environmentalism has nothing to do with ideology.”
With the help of Earth Club, St. John’s students have the option of hosting a “Green Dorm Room.” After attending various training seminars, students become Residential Sustainability Ambassadors and then they promote the positive effects of various environmentally conscious duties to members of their residence hall.
Ambassadors in training attend informative sessions concerning the proper recycling policies and reductions of energy and water. Chalmers describes these informal sessions as a “family style” in which they utilize PowerPoint presentations and discussions.
The Earth Club hopes to assign a Residential Sustainability Ambassador to each dorm so that they can model the positive effects of the program. From proper recycling to a voluntary compost system, representatives of the residential community will have the ability to advocate environmental responsibility and the long term results it can produce.
“I hope that St. John’s students experience a transformation of mentality when they go into the world, honoring environmental responsibility,” said Chalmers.
St. John’s students are supplied with recycling bins and compact fluorescent lamps through the Earth Club, in hopes of reducing consumables, energy, and water waste. As most of the consumption on campus is due to the residential village, this program could greatly impact the reduction of waste on campus.
The responsibilities of the Residential Sustainability Ambassador include setting up a “Green Dorm” and modeling the aspects of an environmentally conscious residence. Each RSA will promote the program through signage, and give information about the program to prospective members.
Representatives are still needed for some of the residential buildings. The Earth Club is very interested in recruiting people to promote the “Green Dorm Rooms” and model the effects of environmental awareness. Activities for potential RSAs will include the expansion of the compost, the gardens behind Donovan Hall, and the promotion of the initiatives of the Earth Club.
One of the unique aspects of the program includes a compost system harnessing worm bins. Through worm bins, organic forms of waste can be properly recycled and reduce the negative effects of consumable waste.
Each dorm will be supplied with a worm bin in which items such as apple cores, coffee grinds, and tea bags can be properly eliminated.
The use of the worm bins, a form of a voluntary compost system, could properly eliminate over four pounds of waste per person, per week. The creation of “Green Dorms” will aid in the reduction of energy waste and improvement in the awareness of environmental issues.
Through the Earth Club, multiple issues are being addressed. Along with the “Green Dorm” initiative, the Earth Club will be participating in many other activities this semester.
Their goals include the promotion of environmental and social responsibility, not only to St. John’s, but to the surrounding community.
“I think it is really important to highlight the fact that it takes the awareness, participation and passion of the entire St. John’s community to build a sustainable future. That is the main goal of this, and all of our initiatives,” said Chalmers.
For students interested in joining the environmental movement, please contact the Earth Club via OrgThink. Their activities are listed on the events calendar, and e-mail updates will inform potential members of the most recent initiatives and goals of the organization.