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UCR Housing Residential Services provide Sustainability Programs


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UCR Housing Residential Services provide Sustainability Programs

By Sustainability Interns | March 2, 2016

The best thing about UCR in regards to sustainability is the multitude of departments within this campus that are committed to going green. I think one department that is truly inspiring on campus is UCR Housing and Residential Services. This team by far is committed to improving the way students and workers think, learn, and act in regards to this topic. Residential life and services is dedicated to teaching not only its students but also its employees. Within the Residential Life staff there exists a Residential Director for ever Residence Hall. Aberdeen Inverness Residence Hall (A-I), managed by Residential Director, Laura Merchant, has helped and encouraged her Residential Advisor’s (commonly known as RAs) to implement green practices within their lives and jobs. A resident advisor is supposed to hold ten programs a quarter for their residents in order to promote bonding, good decisions, and broadening their knowledge. One of these ten programs the RA must put on must fall under the category of being a sustainability program.

Of the many pre-existing sustainable programs within A-I, one RA from Aberdeen-Inverness decided to make a program revolving around recycling. This RA compiled a bag filled with household items and decided to quiz his residents with what was recyclable and what wasn’t. The bag included everyday items such as milk cartons, plastic milk jugs, Starbucks “hot” and “cold” cups, ice bags, aluminum, pizza boxes, bright colored paper, tin cans, staples, chip bags paperclips, etc. Surprisingly, many of the RA’s residents didn’t know what was recyclable and what wasn’t.

The program proved seriously educational and transformed the way his residents disposed of their trash. The program became popular and within the following quarters, other RA’s began to ask to borrow the compiled bag of recyclables to host the program themselves. Years following, as the program began to align itself with Housing and Dinning’ green initiative, requests from RA’s of other Residence Halls such as Lothian, and Pentland would ask Aberdeen-Inverness to borrow the bag for their own programs.

Another successful program promoting sustainability, involved residents reusing jars to plant succulents inside. The RA’s talked about the importance of reusing household items and spreading green thinking within everyday residential lives. Allowing Residents to personalize their jars helped instill a fun and creative aspect to the program.

In addition to the internal recycling programs and planting succulents, Housing Residential Life Services has demonstrated their commitment to sustainability in their large-scale events as well. Housing Programs coordinator, Judith Ogunyoku, is in charge of a large-scale housing event in the spring previously called, GreenFest. Now called Plaza Palooza, the objectives and guidelines are still the same: to promote sustainability and sustainable living to the student body. The entire event is composed of individual student vendors; sustainable programs hosted by each residential building team, sustainable food trucks, and active lifestyle programs such as group yoga and circuit training. It’s a great event open to all students: on-campus and commuters.

A great thing to highlight within Plaza Palooza that is hosted by each of the Residence Halls is that each Hall: Aberdeen-Inverness, Lothian, Pentland, GlenMor, and Campus Apartments and Family Housing each have their own booths manned by their Residential Directors, Resident Advisors, and Program Coordinators. In these booths, they show guests how to make sustainable everyday things. Last year Aberdeen Inverness created handmade diffusers made from kabob sticks, reused mason jars, and essential oils, putting a creative and fun twist on upscaling items in your home!

It’s incredible the ways that Housing’s Residential Services has gone above and beyond to incorporate the importance of sustainability into its residences and staff.

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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Office of Sustainability
University Village
1223 University Avenue, Suite 200

Tel: (951) 827-1270
Fax: (951) 827-3890
E-mail: sustain@ucr.edu

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