A University of Montana program that promotes environmentally sustainable lifestyles to dorm residents has doubled in size this fall.
The Environmental Representative, or Eco-Rep, program started in the fall of 2012 with only two representatives in Knowles Hall. Now, with four Eco-Reps, the environmental educators have expanded to three dorms. Each Eco-Rep is located in a dorm and partners with a resident assistant to hold events that educate dorm dwellers.
Hope Radford, a resource conservation major and Miller Hall Eco-Rep, said the group’s goals are to teach students how to live more sustainably through using energy efficiently, eating locally and using public transportation.
“Most of the behaviors that we encourage people to do are not necessarily going to be visible to us, and that’s why we want to focus so much on education,” Radford said. “It’s the things that they choose to do when no one is looking and make the right choice.”
Earlier this semester, the Eco-Reps held an event where students could decorate a recycling box for their dorm room while learning about the recycling program in Missoula. Miller resident Rena Thiel attended the event and said she uses her extreme sports decorated recycling box often.
“A lot of people on my floor especially know about it and were at the recycling bin event. (The program) seems to have a pretty good presence,“ Thiel said.
This fall the program not only doubled the number of Eco-Reps but also provided the representatives with a stipend. The program has been funded by the Kless Revolving Energy Loan Fund grant since spring 2012. Founders of the Eco-Rep program Kara Colovich and Maddy Halverson are surprised and excited to see how the program has taken off.
“It started with a conference call with other universities who are doing the same thing around the nation and it was really inspiring, and (we) thought it could be feasible here on our campus,” Colovich said.
Eco-Reps now work in Miller, Duniway and Knowles. Radford said that she hopes the program continues to grow and that an “Eco-Rep in every dorm on campus would be great.”