It's the end of summer and the transition to fall means one thing on college campuses: move-in time! To environmentally minded students, this exciting initiation to the fun and excitement of college life also means cardboard boxes, plastic wrapping and other "move in" waste strewn across hallways and onto street corners. What could be a period of pure recycling bliss, often becomes a cringe-worthy environmental nightmare.
But at The George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., the Residential Student Association decided to put an end to the horrific amounts of recyclable materials being mindlessly thrown about, and decided to facilitate what they call a "green move-in." Every floor on each residential hall is equipped with a number of trash, bottle/can and paper waste buckets, as well as a poster instructing students on where various materials should be placed.
In addition, in order to curb the water and electricity use of each residential hall, the Residential Association also instated what is known as the GW Eco-Challenge. This program, which is divided into five periods throughout the year, tracks the carbon footprint of each residential hall per capita, and posts these scores online. The residential halls then compete against each other to win various prizes and awards based upon how environmentally friendly their dorm or floor had been during each period. GW's Eco-Challenge also consists of many events and fairs in order to educate students on the importance of being environmentally proactive. Hopefully George Washington University, as well as many other progressive schools, can lead the way in adopting policies of environmental advocacy and educating their students on the importance of such programs.