Environment, participants winners in Green Dorm Initiative

Rice’s residential colleges were extra green for much of February. It wasn’t a pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration but rather a competition to encourage an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

The fifth annual Green Dorm Initiative was held Feb. 2-21 and was the most successful yet, with 469 participants, including University Representative Y. Ping Sun.

“Not only did the Green Dorm Initiative illuminate some of the environmental issues of Rice, it also made a difference,” said head EcoRep and Sid Rich College senior Zach Bielak.

Held each February, the initiative is hosted by the Rice EcoReps, a student-led peer-to-peer environmental outreach network based in the residential colleges and overseen by Richard Johnson ’92, director of Rice’s Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management. The competition encourages students, staff, faculty and administrators to adopt sustainable lifestyles and implement them on campus. Participants not only benefit the environment; they also are eligible for prizes, such as a tour of the steam tunnels, a picnic at Harris Gully Natural Area, a cinnamon roll party, and the grand prize: a tea and cookie break with Sun.

This year’s event had a slightly different aim than previous initiatives: Rather than simply encouraging sustainable dorm living and asking participants to record energy and water usage, this year’s competition was geared toward teaching students how to adopt a greener lifestyle overall. Each week the competition focused on one of three areas: energy and water, well-being and waste. Participants were given daily activities to complete that were aimed at establishing new habits, such as taking a shower in under four minutes, using natural lighting, eating local food, going vegetarian and sending nothing to the landfill.

The results and a list of winners are included in the graphic below. Lovett College senior Nicole Moody and Martel College junior Sophia Erhard tied as top overall participants. Baker was the winning college, followed by Sid Richardson and Martel.

In a note to competitors, head EcoRep and Sid Rich College senior Zach Bielak said, “We hope you have taken some of what you’ve learned to heart and have started shifting your habits and behaviors to be more eco-conscious. Not only did the Green Dorm Initiative illuminate some of the environmental issues of Rice, it also made a difference.”

Green Dorm Initiative





About Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a senior editor in the Rice's Office of Public Affairs.