Senior Advisor: Jennifer Yeh (jytwo@)
Co-Presidents: Jan Cash (jcash@) and Feng Zhu (fengzhu@)
The Princeton University Ecology Representative Program (Eco-Reps) was founded in 2004 in conjunction with Princeton Facilities. The mission of the Eco-Reps is to promote campus recycling, reduce the amount of waste generated and contamination of recyclables, and increase sustainability through research, education, and providing the campus community with the tools necessary to implement greener practices.
Recyclemania: An annual 8-week competition to promote greener campuses that pits colleges against each other to see who can recycle the most. Facilities measures and submits Princeton’s recycling data; Eco-Reps raise awareness on campus. Measurement methods and other schools’ stats can be found at http://www.recyclemania.org/ under ‘Participating Schools’. Look for our display with the week’s statistics in Frist, spread the word, and recycle, recycle, recycle!
End of the year recycling: End of the year move-outs result in a drastic increase in campus waste. To reduce the impact, we collect and donate books, school supplies, clothing, unopened food and toiletries, furniture, and other reusable materials at the end of the academic year. There are nearly 20 collection sites across campus, making it easy and convenient to recycle.
Reunions recycling: Reunions is one of the biggest events on campus and has an equally large impact on the environment. Our project places recycling bin-trash can pairs in strategic locations in Reunions sites and along the P-Rade route. Recycling rates increased by 25% at Reunions 2009 and an additional 10% during Reunions 2010. For Reunions 2011, we are developing pilot programs to educate Reunions crews about recycling, assess the sustainability of individual Reunions sites, and begin recycling food waste.
Education: Freshman orientation week events and a residential education program that incorporates study breaks encourages freshman to adopt environmentally friendly habits and mindsets. An interactive recycling game and green prizes engage students, the study break format motivates RCAs to choose our program for their freshman advisee groups.
- Water: Water usage and conservation has become increasingly important. As part of that effort and in conjunction with the campus "hydration station" and “drink local” initiative, the Eco-Reps funded a freshman water bottle hand-out for the class of 2013. Brita water filters were distributed in spring 2011 for $1, signing a pledge, and filling out a survey that will help us assess the relationship between water filter usage and bottled water consumption.
Waste audit: We are currently measuring the amount of food disposed in each campus dining hall in an attempt to better understand the substantial increase in food waste in the previous year. The audit will eventually expand to include general waste generated across campus.
Plastic bags: We have given out around 700 reusable bags to encourage students to reduce plastic bag use. Each laundry room will soon have a permanent container for plastic bag recycling.
Outdoor action sustainability project: We provide guidance to returning OA groups in recycling leftover materials. We plan to develop a curriculum in coordination with Rick Curtis that OA leaders can present to expose students to sustainability early in the Princeton experience.
LED lightbulb research: The Undergraduate Student Government sponsored a CFL bulb exchange in Fall 2008. While this was an effective initiative, the Office of Sustainability was interested in newer technology, namely LED lightbulbs. The Eco-Reps took up the task of researching the cost effectiveness of providing LED lightbulbs versus CFL bulbs including quality of light, usability, cost, and energy use.