Posner greens UVM

  Steve Posner, sustainability fellow and Eco-Reps program director, believes student interaction and community participation are essential to promoting environmental sustainability at UVM. Posner’s most recent activities for the Eco-Reps Program include making Greek houses more environmentally friendly, attending a symposium that encourages future recycling practices and using his service-learning class to promote off campus sustainability.             “In sustainability work, a very important piece is the actual behaviors that people engage in,” Posner said. “From sorting your waste when you’re done eating to turning off the lights when you leave the room, we are working on strategies to foster more responsibilities and behaviors from an environmental standpoint.”             One of those initiatives is called the Greening of Greek Life. Eco-Reps are working with the Panhellenic Council, the governing organization of sororities, to find individuals interested in learning how to green-up the sororities, Posner said. Eco-Reps designed an educational workshop and will meet with the representatives from all the sororities. Some of the issues that will be discussed involve implementing composting in the Greek houses, encouraging the purchase and consumption local food and reducing energy consumption, Posner said. Posner attended the Eco-Reps Regional Symposium on Nov.5, hosted by Babson College in Ma., to meet with other representatives from the New England region. With over a hundred Eco-Reps representatives, UVM was one of the presenters and looked to as a leader in environmental sustainability, he said.  “There is still room for improvement,” Posner said. “Future components of Eco-Reps would include adding course credits to the program in order to add a more academic focus and organization to the being work done.” Eco-Reps also illustrate wasteful practices and advocate composting with events like the Food Waste Weigh-in, which involves the collection of a week’s worth of uneaten food at a campus dining facility and weighs it. Posner currently guides CDAE 250 Research Methods for Applied Economics a service-learning class that measures attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of students based on the Eco-Rep program’s work.  “Student leadership [has] been an unintended effect in the Eco-Reps program,” said Gioia Thompson, director of the office of sustainability. “By supporting the Eco-Reps as student leaders, it helps them cooperate with other people and other aspects of their life.” Once students move off-campus, they realize how economically beneficial it is to be environmentally friendly, Thompson said.  From saving money on electric bills during the winter to learning how to get around Burlington without a car, students gain their first experience through the programs being initiated on campus, Thompson said. “It is getting easier and easier for students to live a greener life on campus and then keep doing it once they move off campus,” she said.  We are just working toward the common good, Posner said.