Students 'See Green' in Sustainable Living Experiment
Some Alma College students in the Carey-Bonbright residence halls are “seeing green” as they participate in a project to practice environmental sustainability. Ten student volunteers live in environmentally friendly rooms while continuing to find new ideas to make them a greener place to live.
Sean Mo, assistant professor of chemistry, and Energy Management Engineer Brandon Smith organized the project to conserve energy on Alma’s campus.
“There are many exciting projects planned for the green residence halls for the 2011-12 academic year,” says Mo. “One project will take a look at the energy usage in Carey-Bonbright and Nisbet-Brazell halls. The objective is to compare the electricity and gas usage in two structurally identical buildings.”
Energy conservation is critical, says Benjamin King (above).
Though the structures are identical, Carey-Bonbright is set up with energy-saving equipment, and the students in those halls are aware of this project, explains Mo.
“We hope to find that there will be noticeable differences between the residence halls during the course of the year,” he says.
Benjamin King, Cheboygan sophomore, is a student who is participating in the sustainability study. For him, energy conservation is a critical part of life.
“It is vital to the future of the planet that students begin to think critically about what they can do to help,” he says. “It is no longer a matter of just aiding the environment; when one partakes in sustainability one helps him or herself.”
Though he has been living in the eco-friendly hall since the start of the semester, there are still many things he looks forward to in the future.
“I want to see how much of a difference the Eco Dorms have on energy and water consumption,” he says. “I am certain that we will see positive numbers; it will be nice to know that making a difference can be as easy as unplugging a cell phone charger.”
Cody Neely, White Lake junior, is another student living in the green residence halls who learns first hand what it means to go green.
“I have always been interested in doing what I can to help out with conservation, recycling and all other aspects of being green,” he says. “I’m looking forward to finding out how my hall did in this first month and what we should do in the future to improve.”
These students share many things in common. For example, they are highly aware of how much energy they use while doing routine tasks, such as leaving phone chargers plugged in when not in use, or leaving water running while brushing teeth.
“Energy conservation is not something that is difficult,” Neely explains. “What we’re doing here is not against what people do in general; it’s just being more attentive to things.”
The students meet with Mo every two weeks to discuss the project and ways to improve upon it.
“Dr. Mo is an excellent speaker and is great at inspiring us to take action,” says Ava Dark, Livonia sophomore, another student participant. “He has a lot of knowledge on the topic and has a lot of good ideas.”
The students also work with Smith, who "is motivated to identify energy-saving improvements for the campus," says Dark.
Students of any major are welcome to participate in this study. The project will continue hopefully for years to come, and eventually will help make Alma a greener place to live.
“In the long run, we want to promote a student-initiated green living policy on conservation and sustainability on the entire campus,” says Mo. “We hope to have many more semesters and years of conservation and sustainability projects in the future.”
Posted: Fri, December 2nd, 2011 at 9:16AM