Merriam Hall's Greening to be Showcased

A celebration and demonstration showcasing the residence hall's green efforts is set for Sept. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. A short program will take place about 4:30 p.m. in the Merriam Hall lounge. The campus and community are welcome to attend.

The event will include tours, an art show of green-themed student-created art work, and information on the materials used to make the lobby, hall lounge and an apartment more eco-friendly. Local vendors and organizations with environmentally conscious practices or products will have demonstration booths.

Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI), an energy consulting nonprofit based in San Rafael, collaborated with Redlands on the project. The effort is part of the CHEER (Campus Housing Energy Efficiency Retrofit) Program, funded by Southern California Edison, and implemented by both SEI and Quantum Energy Services and Technologies (QuEST).

A number of sustainable appliances and other eco-friendly products were either donated or offered to the university at a discounted rate by local and regional businesses and contractors.

This current project focused on the hall lounge, lobby and kitchen and the apartment occupied by the community director. Low-toxic paint was used and a portion of the carpet was replaced with one that features a high recycled content.

Some of the green products in Merriam include:

  • Low-flow showerheads
  • Highly efficient light bulbs for students' rooms
  • A couch, recliner, tables, chairs and a bookcase in the lounge made from eco-friendly or recycled materials
  • Motion sensor light switches

The changes in Merriam are designed to help show ways that students can live comfortably while reducing their ecological impact. The residence hall is expected to serve as an example to the campus in many ways, serving as a model for university-wide purchasing practices, increased recycling and other environmentally friendly efforts.

Merriam began its efforts to go green in the fall of 2007, when the hall started the school year as a themed living/learning community with an emphasis on green living, environmental studies and outdoor programs. Plans to continue the dorm's greening are currently being discussed.

Many of Merriam's 100 students are environmental studies majors, outdoor programs members and leaders of the Student Environmental Advocates (SEA), which holds meetings in Merriam.

The green residence hall demonstration is one of several efforts to be environmentally conscious at the University of Redlands.

Last school year, President Stuart Dorsey joined a consortium of other college presidents pledging to move towards making their campuses "climate neutral." He was a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which calls for an emissions inventory, set target dates and milestones for becoming climate neutral, as well as immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Integrating sustainability into the university’s curriculum also is a part of the commitment.

In the classroom, students wrestle with key environmental issues and decisions. Sustainability and environmental issues are discussed in courses across the curriculum, including in freshman seminars, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) courses and several study abroad classes.

And in the dining hall, Bon Appétit Management Company, which oversees the university's food services, works to buy milk, vegetables and other food from local growers. The company also emphasizes a low carbon diet, offering food choices that leave a lower carbon impact.

Call University of Redlands Area Director Leslie Datchuk at 909-748-8102 for more information on the Merriam Hall celebration and demonstration.


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