Story in the College of Arts & Sciences
Liza Dadiomov '10
These alumnae, all part of a sustainable living program, studied students' behavior in making sustainable choices.
Corinne Kirmil, Molly McIlhenny, and Liza Dadiomov, all class of '10, are putting their eco principles into practice. The trio live on the seventh floor of Swig Hall—a place otherwise known as Slurp, the Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project.
A pilot program that is part of Cyphi Residential Learning Community, Slurp encourages students to make their daily actions more environmentally responsible. The 32 students on Swig's seventh floor share weekly dinners in their community kitchen, with meals made mostly from organic ingredients, and try to take the stairs more often than the elevator. They recycle, of course, and even encourage each other to take short showers. Students lead Tai Chi and meditation sessions and regularly host talks to improve their understanding of environmental issues. The program helps students translate environmental concern into action.
"Everyone encourages each other," says Dadiomov, an environmental studies and psychology major. "It's not overwhelming though. A lot of the changes are so easy to do. We can't fix the problems, but we can incorporate little things into our days, and the little changes will make a difference."
Every Slurp resident is involved with an environmental research project. Kirmil, McIlhenny, and Dadiomov are studying how students' awareness and behavior change after they take classes that include sustainability in the curriculum. Surveys distributed before courses and at the end of the term will gauge shifts in perception and action.
"It should be cool to see if there's an impact on students in terms of their behavior," says Kirmil, a psychology and communication major.
The students say, since living with Slurp, they have made changes in their own habits. McIlhenny, a political science and environmental studies major, has stopped using plastic water bottles and is conscientious about turning off the lights when she leaves a room.
"Hopefully, we'll see students absorbing what they're learning in the classroom. We hope that this contributes to more sustainable behavior," says McIlhenny.