Move-In Starts Students Down a Sustainable Path

October 10, 2012

Each year, Penn welcomes over 6,000 students to their new homes on campus. Amid the welcome back embraces, tearful farewells, endless questions, and piles of suitcases there is also a lot of trash - or at least there used to be. For the past few years, the efforts of both Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) and Penn students in the M.I. Green program have made sustainability a visible part of check in, unpacking, and waste removal.


M.I. Green volunteers, sporting bright green T-shirts, were new students' likely first introduction to the University's Climate Action Plan initiatives. These junior and senior class volunteers helped students and parents dispose of boxes and wrappers during move in at designated recycling centers in their new College Houses, distributed eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs, and shared knowledge about sustainable practices on campus. More than 900 incoming students took the opportunity to sign up with M.I. Green volunteers for the Green Campus Partnership e-newsletter, and 400 asked for a follow-up e-mail to learn about extracurricular environmental groups or sustainability-related courses at Penn. Read more about M.I. Green's achievements this year.


The RHS Move-In crew enhanced efforts to eliminate paper waste and increase recycling this year. Most noticeably, RHS used iPads at all locations, allowing for speedy, paper-free check-ins. RHS also eliminated an estimated 5,000 sheets of paper by combining parking and unloading passes and printing them on smaller pages, and eliminated the printing of 4,000 guest passes by using a new 2-in-1 guest pass.


"We want all our residents to reduce waste, and we're setting the example from Day One on campus," said Doug Berger, Executive Director of Business Services, who oversees Residential and Hospitality Services.


Penn’s undergraduate major in Environmental Studies was the first in the country in 1972.

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