For students of the new EcoVillage, located in Bragaw Hall, green is the new vogue. But going green in the EcoVillage isn’t just a color - it’s a lifestyle. Members of the new village envision their year of green living will include learning about everything from community gardens to intramural sports teams to hiking to solar panel construction, and even camping trips.
For one of their inaugural community engagement activities, students combined both “green” concepts by painting the Free Expression Tunnel green to raise awareness about sustainability on campus. EcoVillage will also supplement community activities with a seminar class entitled “Energy, Environment and Sustainability.”
The pilot class encourages students to explore topics relating to sustainable living both on and off campus. EcoVillage students also have special access to the EcoVillage study room and private tutors. EcoVillage mentors provide one-on-one guidance to residents, while capstone projects inspire students to creatively impact sustainability at NC State.
“As mentors, we each have a group of students and our goal is to build a community that is environmentally friendly,” said Brenna Hannapel, a senior Environmental Science major and mentor. “I want to raise these students’ awareness of broader environmental issues while spreading our passion to the NC State community.”
After living in the village for less than two weeks, Austin Bowman, a first-year EcoVillage resident, has already planned a project for his peers. He and a group of EcoVillage residents will visit each college at NC State and inspire them to promote sustainability in unique ways unique to their college.
“EcoVillage is a place where there are opportunities for everyone, regardless of year, to lead and make an impact,” Bowman said. “With my project, the hope is that students in that college can see how their field specifically can make strides in sustainability.”
Through educating others how not to “mark” the environment, Hannapel, Bowman and other EcoVillage residents are paving the way for greener living at NC State and beyond the bounds of campus. “I’ve spent a lot of time doing study abroad in Istanbul and I also studied in Montana,” Hannapel said. “For my senior year I wanted to focus on making an impact at NC State. I want to leave a mark.”
Program Director Meghan Lobsinger believes the EcoVillage is a new endeavor for students and for the campus as a whole. “It’s a place that NC State didn’t have before now,” she said. “Historically, there have been student organizations that deal with these issues, but now these students can live, work, play and solve problems within a community.”
The students of EcoVillage represent a diverse cross-section of majors. The result brings diversity of opinion and a unique perspective to the concept of sustainability. To Bowman sustainability means “improving our quality of life while also looking to improve the quality of our environment.”
Stay tuned as the EcoVillage challenges NC State students to create their own definition of sustainability and green living. Are you ready to go green with them?