At Yale it’s the Student Taskforce for Environmental Partnership (STEP), at University of Missouri it’s the Sustainability Peer Resource Outreach (SPROUT), but at University of Rochester they are called EcoReps!!! EcoReps are a group of approximately 28 enthusiastic freshmen (at least one per floor in freshman dorms) with a desire to promote change through sustainable initiatives. The EcoReps Program seeks to create a community in which students are making environmentally, socially, and economically responsible decisions by becoming aware of how their decisions can affect everyone.
The program at the university is run by two upperclassmen students, who were former EcoReps and who are experienced in on-campus environmental efforts. They are responsible for coordinating the two credit seminar classes and facilitating discussions on current environmental issues. The EcoReps are then responsible for educating their halls on these sustainability-based issues through planning dorm activities and events.
In addition to specific tasks, the EcoReps serve as “eco-eyes” for the university; this means that they have the official position to address problems with the way in which the University handles the resources. EcoReps also serve as liaisons between the departments of the university and the students so as to facilitate two-way communication to increase resource efficiency.
Written by: Sade Richardson, Class of 2015