Sustainability and ME: An Eco-Rep Program Begins at USM

Posted on April 08, 2014 in Perspectives, Sustainability and ME
By USM Free Press

By: Jocylin Egan

 

The USM Assistant Director for Sustainable Programs, Tyler Kidder, and a few student workers ,are planning the launch of an EcoRep program at USM for Fall 2014.

A USM EcoRep will act as a liaison between the Office of Sustainability and their fellow residents. EcoReps will promote sustainable practices at the university and encourage environmentally responsible behaviors through peer-to-peer education, event organizing and community outreach.

WHY an EcoRep program?

Residential EcoReps will focus on opportunities to be more sustainable in the Gorham Residence Halls because the res halls have a lot of room for improvement when it comes reducing waste, water, fossil fuel and electricity consumption. EcoReps who are not residential students will develop and focus on projects that encourage sustainable practices and lifestyles all over our three campuses. A student led EcoRep program at USM will be an effective way to raise awareness around environmentally responsible behavior changes.

As an individual it can be hard and discouraging to bring about culture change or to witness destructive environmental behaviors. But when we build upon these challenges as a community the effects are much more visible (and fun!). Our university campuses are a great place to initiate socially responsible behavior in our next generation of citizen leaders. In addition, this program will have the potential to create a new feeling of pride on campus and empower our student body as we gather together to reduce our carbon footprint. We are all in this together – here as students and after we graduate.

WHO can become an Eco-Rep?

Any student with a desire to be engaged and drive change can be a USM EcoRep. Additionally, students who live in the Res Halls in Gorham are eligible to be Residential EcoReps and represent their res hall, floor, or Living Learning community. All EcoReps will be engaged in fun and important projects, will work together as a group, will be fully supported and trained, and will be ambassadors of the Office of Sustainability.

WHAT does an EcoRep do?

A USM EcoRep will:

• Create, organize and host events in residence halls and around campus.

• Educate peers about simple eco-friendly lifestyle modifications.

• Listen to student voice and concerns then channel that information from the students to the USM Facilities Dept & Administration.

• Act as a student resource through support, education and communication.

If I’m not experienced in leadership and/or “sustainability” can I become an EcoRep?

Yes! We will provide training to all students who are committed and inspired.

How and when does it all start?

Express your interest now by filling out this quick form so we know to be in touch as the program develops. We will be offering trainings and starting the good work this coming fall semester in September 2014.

Perks to being an EcoRep:

-Payment, if you qualify for federal work-study.

-An opportunity to meet, collaborate and network with a team of EcoReps and your campus community members

If you are interested in learning more about environmental and social issues, are able to work independently and collaboratively, have good communication skills (or would like an opportunity to build upon them) and want to discover new ways to be creative, fun and make a difference – become an EcoRep!

 

Jocylin Egan is non-traditional student pursuing her bachelors in Nursing and is minoring in Biology and Holistic & Integrative Health. She loves to dig in the dirt and dabbles in formulating herbal medicines. She supports her life as a student and feeds hersoul by coordinating the USM Community Garden in Portland.