The University of Mary Washington is implementing a new Greenhousing initiative that seeks to unite a community of students who all believe in preserving the environment.
Freshman Kathryn Erwin, international business major and the Greenhousing coordinator for the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life, said the idea was born out of a desire to “make sure our community and economy are sustained for future generations.”
The community, which is set to be in place for the entering class of 2013, will be located on the 4th floor of Randolph Hall for freshmen and the 4th floor of Mason Hall for upperclassmen. Together, the communities will be called “the Greenhouse.”
Participating students will partake in several activities related to the initiative, including workshops, team building exercises, do-it-yourself projects and community service, according to Erwin.
“It’s good to live with other people who agree with you,” said Erwin.
The freshmen section is a Living Learning Community, and it will be run by Residence Life. To apply, incoming students will have to fill out a specific application and answer essay questions that ask how they will contribute to the community, according to Erwin.
There will be 40 spots open for the fall semester, and Erwin expects between 70 and 80 applicants.
Melanie Szulczewski, assistant professor of environmental science and the academic advisor to the Living Learning Community, is excited for what the Greenhouse community can bring to UMW.
“The most dedicated students will have a supportive community to help them pursue sustainability goals outside the classroom and committee meetings,” said Szulczewski. “There is power and influence in numbers, so with an established sustainability community, even more students will become aware of the amazing progress we are making here at UMW to put these ideas in action.”
The upperclassmen section is a “Conceptual Living Community” that will be student-led with faculty advisors. Students will be allowed to choose their roommates and suite-mates in this community.
Erwin said that out of 50 available spots in the community about half have already been filled.
Junior environmental science Max Devilliers, co-chair for the Conceptual Living Program, explained how the program will function.
“We will meet with the members every once in a while and talk about sustainable living and our effects on the environment and how we can reduce those impacts,” said Devilliers. “We will then encourage the members to let others know what they have learned so as to spread the word because the main way to change how we impact our environment is by educating people about what has the least impact.”
Senior environmental science major Abbie Rogers believes it is important for students to have the option to live in this kind of community.
“With so many diverse and open minded perspectives in one location, the possibility for even everyday discussions are endless,” said Rogers. “Having an outlet like that to plug into new ideas, perspectives and experiences is what a liberal arts education is all about.”
Students interested in the program can email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.