The EcoReps’ New Committees

Divide and conquer! The EcoReps of have taken this popular quote to heart and have decided to divide their efforts and creativity into five committees all dedicated to working towards the same goal: a more sustainable community in the University of Rochester. But what exactly is an EcoRep, you may ask? An EcoRep is a freshman student that applied to take on the responsibility of making sure their freshman floor and the University campus are educating in and practicing sustainability.

To make this task more manageable and effective the EcoReps have split into five committees:  Food, Recycling, Energy, Communications and Auxiliary. Recently, the food committee successfully organized and executed a “What’s in Your Food?” tabling event near the main entrance of Sue B. The event showcased foods such as ketchup, beer, Starbucks’ Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, the McDonald’s Big Mac, and diet Pepsi and educated passersby on the contents and health issues associated with these foods. The food committee also plans on bringing more variety to salad bars and producing “Thank You for buying Fair Trade Coffee” sleeves for any location on campus that sells free trade coffee.

The recycling committee is trying to organize installing paper shredders throughout the school in order to find other uses for the shredded paper such as insulation. The recycling committee also hopes to start a program to make reusable bags available on campus for students shopping in order to minimize or even eliminate the usage of plastic bags around campus.

The energy committee has begun looking into finding a way to change most or all fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs. They are also looking to educate the Residential Quad residents on effective usage of the heating sensors in the dorm rooms by not opening their windows unnecessarily.

The Auxiliary committee wants to install hand dryers in the Sue B and Residential Quad bathrooms to eliminate the need for paper towels in the bathrooms to make residential life less wasteful.

The communications committee has taken up the task of marketing the presence and efforts of the EcoReps via awareness posters and fundraising events.

If any of these projects seem interesting or if you have ideas of your own contact the EcoReps via this email:  Your ideas will be relayed to the respective committee.


3 Replies to “The EcoReps’ New Committees”

  1. What do you define as a “fair wage?” Let’s say we can pay 4 people in china 3 dollars for their labor or one person 12 dollars in the US, is that 2nd person receiving a fundamentally fairer wage? It looks like the second person is of course, but the first 4 Chinese people would be receiving double the average wage in China and we would be vaulting them into the middle class or higher in China. When we say we are focusing on “fair trade” we are really trying to impose our own cultural and economic view on others, a very ethnocentric proposal when one gets right down to it. I would also like you to keep in mind these “cheap goods” have allowed for an unprecedented standard of living increase worldwide, especially in China, compared to even 30 years ago, along with massive increases in the wages earned by Chinese people. Now the US, by buying all these goods from around the world, is fueling this, but I guess since we aren’t fitting the definition of “fair” trade we should put a stop to all that and just buy locally and doom the poor around the world.
    If you believe anything I say is bullshit feel free to do a little research for yourself.

  2. Hi Mike, this is what the EcoRep manual has to say about fair trade:
    “Support fair trade, rather than free trade. Support fair trade, rather than free trade. One must come to realize that when the worldwide trade increased, corporations continued their normal business tactics. This means that in poorer countries – where people have little say in how the goods they produce are distributed – corporations decide as to how much they pay their workers. To be able to make the most profit they keep the wages low and prices high. This also means that the food is produced quickly and cheaply, which often means unsustainably. When you can use your consumer dollar to support fair trade. Many commodities such as coffee, tea, and specialty food items can be purchased ―fair trade certified‖ meaning that the workers who grow and produced them were paid a fair price for their labor. Find out more about fair trade from the World Fair Trade Organization (”

  3. This rhetoric is great. Divide and conquer! So we’re not really talking about learning, education and discovering the truth, but instead about forcing your beliefs on others and lobbying people to believe what you want them to.

    There’s much more to be said about the information in this blog post of course, but since the contributors to this blog are not discussing substantive ideas neither will I. The last time I posted questions regarding the content of a blog post here I received no response so I won’t waste my time anymore. I did receive a Facebook friend request though, that’s always nice I suppose.

    I might as well ask–can the author of this blog post or another contributor please explain to me what fair trade coffee is and why it is environmentally friendly?

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