As Montana State University makes strides to improve its sustainability efforts across campus, the Residence Halls are also taking steps to decrease the energy, water and heat usage across campus. Programs and initiatives started picking up momentum in the fall of 2008 and has since grown into major campaigns and educational outreach to our students and staff about how they can improve the residence halls.
Initiatives and Education
- 9 of the 10 residence halls have recycling bins on each of the floors for aluminum, plastic, newspaper, and office paper.
- A partnership between the MSU Sustainability Office and Residence Life was created in the spring 2009 to add recycling bins in every hall lobby for residents to use for plastic, aluminum and paper.
- Fliers were distributed at the beginning of the fall 2010 semester in each room to remind students how to be sustainable and save energy as well as water and heat throughout the year.
- Swap tables were created in each residence hall lobby at the end of each academic year to provide students a place to put unwanted items so that other students could take those items.
- Residence Life has reduced the number of dumpsters headed to the landfill over the past 5 years from 12 dumpsters down to 5 in 2010.
- Residence Life partnered with a loft company to offer students the opportunity to buy rentable steel lofts to put in their rooms instead of using wooden lofts. This allowed students the opportunity to use a product that they didn't have to throw away, but reuse and let the loft be used for years to come.
- During vacation periods when the residence halls are closed lights are turned off or down, computers are turned off, heaters are turned down to 65 degrees and any appliance or electronic is encouraged to be shut off and/or unplugged to save energy consumption.
- Residence Life has posted stickers on each paper towel dispenser in the residence halls and food service areas reminding individuals to be responsible with paper towel usage.
- In the spring 2011 semester, Interhall RHA worked with ASMSU and NECO during the nationwide Recyclemania program to collect recyclable materials during the 8-week competition. Between February 6 and April 2 the 7 residence halls recycled a combined 10,493.19 pounds of material!
- During the summer of 2013, all of the windows in North Hedges were replaced with energy-efficient double-paned windows, which will save power use and help to maintain a comfortable temperature in the hall.
Discussion and Research
- Building walkthroughs were conducted with the Director of Residence Life, Maintenance Supervisor, Custodial Supervisor, each individual Resident Director, a Facilities Services Representative and David Klem to tour each residence hall in an effort to identify areas that could be modified or targeted to save money on utility bills.
- A Resident Advisor Advisory Committee was created in the fall 2008 to discuss what the residence halls were doing, what they could do more of and what the residents were saying about sustainability. That committee is still active to this day in an effort to continue to discuss what steps can be taken or what initiatives could be explored.
- The Interhall Residence Hall Association has added a Director Sustainability to the Executive Board and each hall elects a Sustainability Chair to assist in educational and programmatic initiatives in each hall.
- In the spring of 2009 Residence Life stated individual hall advisory committees comprised of the hall Resident Director, Assistant Resident Director, 1 Custodian, and 1 Resident Advisor to discuss what is currently happening in the hall and what more can be recommended to the department to do with regards to sustainability. This committee is also responsible for developing an action plan to manage the swap table and end of the year garbage that is collected at the end of each academic year.