Student interest has sparked the creation of a peer-to-peer program that promotes sustainable practices among students on campus.
The Eco-Rep program was created by Bart Bartels, Campus Sustainability manager, with help from graduate students Jenny Jordan and Marushka Baoh.
“We wanted a way for students to become more involved in not only the physical component of composting, but also the educational component of sustainability as a whole,” said Jordan.
The Eco-Rep program is led by students who volunteer their time to create and implement sustainable programs as well as educate and encourage their peers to get involved in the effort. The student representatives, who work within their living centers, are responsible for the Pizza Box Compost project, educating the campus communities about composting and promoting Recyclemania.
Honors College student Tyler Ward became an Eco-Rep as a result of his enrollment in the Food For Thought class offered at Grand Valley.
“The class really opened my eyes to the fact that we won’t be able to sustain our planet for much longer based on our current practices,” said Ward. “Something needs to be done, and this seemed like a good way to get involved.”
Ward said the peer-to-peer aspect of the program has positive effects on the student community. “When you have a friend telling you to compost your pizza box, it really hits home,” said Ward. “I have got a lot of my friends involved this way.”
Jordan said the program has already made a significant impact on Grand Valley’s campus. “The Eco-Reps are doing so much more than just composting pizza boxes,” she said. “They are educating their peers about the importance of sustainability — economically, environmentally, and socially.”
So far, more than 3,700 pizza boxes have been composted.
Eco-Rep Kathryn Worden said Grand Valley’s sustainability efforts are easy to get involved with. “The best thing about sustainability is the fact that it’s something you can do on your own by simply being aware of your lifestyle choices,” she said.
To find out more information about the program or to become an Eco-Rep yourself, contact any one of the current representatives or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.