Eco Reps rebrand with focus on residential life

The+Eco+Reps+will+operate+like+sustainable+residential+advisors%2C+encouraging+their+residential+halls+to+practice+sustainable+living.

Photo by Pierson White

The Eco Reps will operate like sustainable residential advisors, encouraging their residential halls to practice sustainable living.

Due to a new sustainability initiative, Eco Reps will now act as sustainability-focused resident advisors. Those previously carrying the Eco Rep mantle, however, will now be known as “sustainability interns.” Previously, there were three sustainability interns that represented all of the residence halls, Greek housing and off-campus housing.

In addition to raising awareness for sustainability, Eco Reps will be responsible for enacting three initiatives in their respective housing facilities. The specifics of the initiatives will vary depending on the Eco Rep.

Grace Brokenshire ’24 and James Boateng ’25, two of three Eco Rep Coordinators, said initiatives will range from posting fliers on community boards to hosting group meetings regarding sustainability tactics they could use in the dorm.

“We’re looking to have competitions within residence halls and get students amped up and excited to recycle,” Bernadette Russo ’24, the third Eco Rep Coordinator said. “The goal is to get students to eventually practice sustainability on their own.

The close personal connection of the Eco Rep program differentiates it from other sustainability initiatives on campus. In an attempt to become more available to the student body and provide a sustainable community, Community Outreach and Engagement Manager for the Office of Sustainability Samantha Smith decided to create the rebranded Eco Rep program.

“We really wanted an outline for Lafayette students who aren’t involved directly with sustainability initiatives on campus to become involved,” Russo said. “I think it’s important for there to be full campus awareness of sustainability and I think the Eco Rep program is a really great start.”

The Eco Rep program is a volunteer leadership position available to all students. Smith said that while leadership qualities and a certain level of communication skills are important for those interested in the program, the most important trait for the representatives is a passion for raising awareness for sustainability.

“It’s a great opportunity to be an advocate and leader on campus,” Boateng said.

Brokenshire agreed. “Sign up because their doors are always open,” she said.  

The Eco Reps plan to meet on a bi-weekly basis with their coordinators to discuss initiatives to implement in housing facilities and to educate themselves on sustainability methods. By setting the standard for the colleges in the Lehigh Valley on how to approach sustainability, the Eco Reps aspire to nurture a personal connection between the students and the larger environmental issues that plague the planet.

“You don’t have to leave your dorm to practice sustainability,” Russo said.

Those interested in joining the Eco Reps can reach out to Grace Brokenshire at [email protected]

Disclaimer: Bernadette Russo is an Arts & Culture Editor of The Lafayette. She did not contribute writing or editing to this article.