C of I students get serious about sustainability
2010. 07. 16.
Alli Parrish and Katy Stewart live in a green house. No, not the kind you grow plants in. The kind where you do everything you possibly can to decrease your carbon footprint by conserving energy, recycling, gardening and generally striving to be as “green” as possible.
It can be a tough job, but Parrish and Stewart are up to the challenge. The College of Idaho sophomores are serving as sustainability stewards, which means they live in the school-owned “Eco House” (nicknamed Gaia, which is Greek for “Mother Nature”) behind campus. In exchange for room and board, Parrish and Stewart tend the College's on-campus organic garden and a pumpkin patch in their backyard. They've also made Gaia more eco-friendly, installing energy-efficient light bulbs, adding an aerator to the kitchen faucet and buying all of their furniture at yard sales.
“Being green really is just about being responsible for what you take from and emit into the environment,” Parrish said. “Free housing isn't my motivation for doing this; it's just the right thing to do. And it's giving me an opportunity to go above and beyond what I would be able to do in a dorm.”
The stewards plan to take their efforts even further. They soon will remove their dryer and hang-dry their clothes. They also want to outfit Gaia with solar panels, Energy Star appliances, a composting system and a graywater system that will reuse leftover bath and sink water for watering plants. Those plans hinge on budgets, but the stewards have shown an ability to help themselves financially, securing a $250 grant from Annie's Homegrown organic food company to help fund next year's garden.
“My favorite thing has been seeing how big the garden has grown,” Stewart said. “And we've done a lot with the house. Eventually, we are hoping to take it off the (power) grid.”
Parrish and Stewart also want to raise awareness on campus. They started a weekly organic garden newsletter, complete with recipes and fresh produce for sale. They also manage a blog (wormsmoothies.wordpress.com) and a website (www.wix.com/cofiorganic/sustainablecofi), all with the goal of raising the profile of sustainability at C of I, both now and for the future.
“We have plans for probably the next 5 years,” Stewart said. “Hopefully, future sustainability stewards will want to follow those plans and add their own ideas as well.”
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state's oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three undergraduate minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.