Sustainable Living: Meet the Residential Sustainability Program

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The Residential Sustainability Program team. Photo courtesy of RSP.

One of the most difficult aspects of freshman year is adjusting to dorm life. It is a new experience filled with endless possibilities and inexperienced freedoms. But, there are certain aspects that are lost when moving out of your family’s house. Living a sustainable lifestyle may just be something that seems out of reach when rooming in on-campus housing. Yet, Brandon Wong and Riley Mangubat, student supervisors of the Residential Sustainability Program, are hard at work to involve the residential community and to make living in on-campus housing more environmentally friendly.

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Established in 2007, the RSP works to provide “a channel of sustainability and ‘green’ living through student-led education,”  says Mangubat. Mangubat continues on to mention how their main goal is to “weave the desire to live sustainability.”

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With the program consisting of   two student supervisors, three coordinators (holding positions in education, communication, and advocacy), interns and volunteers from the residence hall, the group holds weekly meetings where members of the Cal community are encouraged to join and participate. The team focuses on trying to make changes happen within the residential halls primarily through education.

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The team attempts to foster concern and care for sustainable living. The core group doesn’t work only for their own benefit, but rather many of the implementations gives back to the Cal community in general.“None of the core team lives in the residence halls, so it’s reaffirming to see time devoted to a cause that can make an inherent difference in increasing Berkeley sustainability.” Mangubat says.

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Currently, RSP has worked hard to actualize improvements within the residential halls including: installing water aerators in faucets, implementing composting in Units 1-3 for all paper towels,  sorting and recycling plastic, glass, and paper products, and placing motion-sensor timers on the lights. In Martinez Commons, the RSP team is currently working on getting solar power, adjusting the lighting, and installing efficient water heaters. RSP also has a monthly newsletter that reaches out to the student housing community called The Greenie, which consists of information on RSP and their impact, as well as sustainability tips.

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RSP’s logo

 

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With Earth Week right around the corner, RSP is busy planning their contribution to the week’s events. Wong and Mangubat say that further plans for the future include continuing to  “educat[e] residents about the necessity of ‘smart’ waste disposal, expand[ing] recycling to residence halls that currently lack it and mov[ing] forward with a campaign to reduce water consumption in light of this infamous California drought!”

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Also, within a couple of weeks, applications will start opening up for various paid positions on the team. Interviews will most likely begin in April. While more information will be available for those that attend the meeting, the Residence Hall employment website [osdemployment.wordpress.com] will also be featuring the positions as the applications open. There are many highlights with working with RSP. For Wong one of his favorite parts of running the program is that he has “had the opportunity to personally engage students, staff, and members of the public on a wide range of issues, including waste reduction, food justice, and water conservation.”

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With a lot to offer and even more issues to tackle, the RSP team may seem overly ambitious, especially when working with such a large student body. But, that is something that they acknowledge and gladly take on. “Change can be difficult to achieve, but I am happy to be part of a team of dedicated individuals making a difference and proud of the results,” Wong says.

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Weekly meetings are located in the Unit 2 Central Building (Room L-20) on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm where you can and enjoy discussions, a built community, and snacks.

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1 Response

  1. Greenie says:

    Creating a Green Campus is now being treated as a priority at several reputed colleges worldwide. Certainly, this is not merely an administrative jobs. Without involving the students directly into the “greening” activities not much headway can be made. The “Residential Sustainability Program” is definitely a good initiative that other colleges may like to emulate.
    Read more about Steps to Green Living at : http://www.greeniesglobe.com/green-living.html

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