Zero-waste Events at Penn's College Houses

November 15, 2013

As part of ReThink Your Footprint, Student Eco-Reps in Penn's College Houses are encouraged to organize low-/zero-waste events this month.

On Saturday, November 16, King's Court English College House will be hosting its annual Semi-Dormal, a semi-formal dance hosted in the Mirage Cafe. This year's theme is the Roaring Twenties, and KCECH is partnering with Eco-Reps to make the event zero-waste, which means diverting over 90% of waste from the landfill!

The Rodin Eco-Reps and Green Team are hosting a Rodin_24: Zero-Waste Dinner. "Rodin_24: 24 Dinners, 24 Topics, 1 House" is a near weekly dinner series in Rodin College House and is intended to provide an opportunity for residents to discuss with faculty members, administrators, and other students. There are 24 spots for each dinner and residents can sign up in the House Office for a co-pay of $1. Professor Wen K. Shieh from the Engineering School will speak on sustainability and dinner from Hummus will be served. The dinner will be held November 20th at 7pm in M30. The goal is to divert 90% of waste from landfills by composting food waste and compostable cups, utensils, and plates.

Eco-Reps in Hill College House are hosting a zero-waste movie night, showing Gasland -- a 2010 American documentary written and directed by Josh Fox. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011, the film focuses on communities in the United States impacted by natural gas drilling and, specifically, a method of horizontal drilling into shale formations known as slickwater fracking.

A casual meet-and-greet study break is planned in Fisher Hassenfeld for people to come talk to the Eco-Reps, and learn about waste management and the Green Living certification. Creative snacks will include "dirt dessert" (gummy worms and pudding) to represent composting. They will also continue to recruit for Green Team members.

The Eco-Reps in Sansom Place are planning a zero-waste Thanksgiving dinner.  As one of the biggest events that Sansom holds, the Eco-Reps see this as a good opportunity to educate residents about composting and recycling. They plan to have Eco-Reps and Green Team members stationed next to each bin to help the attendees dispose of their things properly. They have ordered the biodegradable utensils, plates, bowls and cups from Bon Appetit. 

Harnwell College House Eco-Reps partnered with the bi-weekly Makin' Break organizers to make seed paper for holiday cards. This November 14 event recycled paper and emphasized homemade gifts.

Eco-Reps in Gregory College House partnered with the weekly Tuesday "Bring Your Own Mug" study break to introduce organic food items and make it low- or zero-waste. The BYOM managers baked two cakes with organic fruit compote and organic ingredients. All waste at this November 13 study break was composted or recycled.


Penn’s underground cisterns on campus have the capacity to collect and reuse 340,000 gallons of water each year.

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