Environmentally Safe Dorm Room
College students have to worry about roommates, cooking meals, friends, family, parties and, of course, studying. Unless they’re in the Green Campus Program, most don’t have time to worry about what we do to the environment in our everyday routines.
To make things easier for us, the Green Campus Program and Student Housing Office has come together to create ‘The Green Room.’ Located in the only vacant dorm room of Mesa Court, it has been designed to hold only environmentally friendly and sustainable products. Its grand opening was last Wednesday and this room is now open to anyone in the Irvine community to tour.
Room 102B of Camino looks like any other dorm, but cleaner. A closer look, however, reveals some very interesting finds on the part of the Green Campus Program. This dorm serves as a model to inspire college students to search for a more environment-friendly means of living. On the desks, you can find pens made out of rolled-up newspaper, recycled plastic or denim. Next to these is stationery made of recycled junk mail and biodegradable material. For style, there is a decorative boat made out of old chopsticks and a rustic picture frame made out of old railroad tracks.
Each half of the room is designed to be gender-specific in order to appeal to all students. On the beds are male and female T-shirts and shorts made of organic cotton or hemp, which feel no different than regular T-shirts. A quite striking item was on the female side: a silver purse made completely out of aluminum can pop-tops. To complete an entirely environment friendly outfit is a pair of shoes donated by Timberland, priced at $80, with soles of recycled rubber and a body of hemp.
For the technological needs of a college student, Energy Star appliances are arranged all over the room, including a cordless phone, TV, printer, fridge and speakers. Energy Star appliances are constructed to use less energy and, therefore, decrease the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions. In addition, the dressers display various toiletries, such as lotion, toothpaste, sunscreen and hair color, that are organic and do not contain any environmentally harmful chemicals.
Though most of these items may seem foreign to us, everything can actually be found in local stores. Some may be in larger chain stores, such as Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Office Depot, but the primary source is Mother’s Market, located on Michelson Drive between Carlson Avenue and Jamboree Road.
While many college students are interested in saving the environment, the movement towards this organic lifestyle holds one main obstacle: price. As one student toured the room and noticed the recycled paper cups, she mentioned, ‘Those are expensive. We tried to get them and they were $10.’
Lack of funds can be a very prominent factor in determining our college lifestyle and it is true that some of these items can be a bit more expensive than their more environmentally harmful counterparts. Yet to the Green Campus Program, the difference is a small price to pay for the health of our environment.
The Green Room also demonstrates many inexpensive ways for students to live without risking the environment. For example, small plants are placed on the windowsill of the Green Room to clean the air. Instead of using water bottles, the leading cause of litter in junkyards, a Brita water filter can be an inexpensive alternative.
Helping the environment does not just mean purchasing alternatives; it also means making other small changes in our behaviors