Residence hall sustainability focus of new task force

Elisabeth Moore

WKU’s Residence Hall Association, otherwise known as WKU RHA, recently developed an initiative called the Sustainability Taskforce, a student-led group that will work with RHA, Housing and Residence Life and the Office of Sustainability to make residence halls more eco-friendly and sustainable.

“We are hoping to reduce electricity and have recycling have a bigger impact within residence halls,” sophomore Hailee Bernard, national communications coordinator for RHA, said. “We want all of WKU to start focusing on the effects we have on our environment and ways we can help and we are hoping to start with residence halls.”

In an email sent to the residence halls, Bernard said the task force will focus on education through passive and active programs and events using both short-term and long-term projects. It will also advocate to help improve the level of sustainability present in the residence halls on campus.

The task force is currently in the process of recruiting members who are passionate about sustainability, according to senior Jacob Holt, RHA president. Once the task force is created, the members will elect a chairperson to run the group and begin working toward creating a more sustainable campus.

“We can’t keep passing it off anymore,” Holt said. “A lot of people don’t know there are a lot of small things you can do, like this cup I brought. This is a cup you can buy at Starbucks. It is a few dollars and it is reusable and it is also recyclable. So, that one time I accidentally throw it in the trash, I don’t feel guilty about it.”

The group will be very student-focused, Holt said. Though the task force currently does not have any major plans, the chairperson and task force members will do the majority of the planning and problem solving that relates to sustainability on campus.

“I don’t want to commit them to something and then that is something that they don’t exactly want to do,” Holt said. “I want it to be a student-led group that they are passionate about.”

Any student living on campus in a residence hall or in the Kentucky Street Apartments can join the Sustainability Task Force. Members need to be creative and ready to share their ideas and to put those ideas into action, Bernard said.

The task force will participate in many residence hall renovations coming up, Holt said. It will be working with new buildings from the ground up to make sure they are environmentally friendly. Recycling initiatives are also being worked on around campus.

“For example, something that has been on my radar is the Kentucky Street Apartments, which are owned by Western,” Holt said. “There is no recycling area for those two buildings, so if they are Western-owned or Housing-owned, it should be important to have recycling facilities there as well.”

“There is a quote I really like, which is ‘try something and if it doesn’t work, try something else,’” Holt said. “I try to live by that. If this works and goes well, then we will keep doing it and that has been kind of my theme for RHA this semester.”

Reporter Elisabeth Moore can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emoore938.