GEO hosts discussions about potential "eco-house"

The Geneseo Environmental Organization hosted two open discussions this week about the possibility of creating an "eco-house" in the model of the existing Dante and Writers Houses.

Since there are no plans for the construction of a new residence hall in the near future, the eco-house would likely inhabit a quad, floor or potentially even an entire building depending on interest levels. Putnam, Allegheny and Erie Halls were mentioned as potential buildings to host the eco-house, but the selection will remain indefinite until more concrete interest numbers are obtained.

Students who live in the eco-house will be expected to create their own guidelines and activities that focus on sustainability within the eco-house community.

Some suggested ideas for the eco-house included volunteer trail maintenance in local parks, using drying racks or hand-washing instead of traditional laundry equipment, using deposits on recycled items to fund environmental initiatives, utilizing the campus' community garden as a source of food, partnering with an international eco-village and having upperclassmen do "senior projects" aimed at improving sustainability or environmental awareness throughout the campus.

"The [Sustainability] Task Force is really excited that the students are taking this idea and running with it," said Kristi Hannam, biology professor and co-chair of the task force. "We're going to support it as much as we can."

Some other colleges have already established sustainable communities in similar residential houses, according to junior Hallie Miller, a GEO member who is heading the project. Bringing the concept to Geneseo could be "a really interesting project," she said.

"I'm pleased that over my years at Geneseo, the focus on good environmental practices and sustainability has grown," said senior Jesse Parent, a veteran member of GEO.

The eco-house would be open to both returning students and freshmen. GEO is in the beginning stages of preparing a survey to obtain feedback and gauge interest in the project so it can work with Residence Life to prepare more specific plans.