Exploring what “Living Sustainably” Means

Although October was technically Campus Sustainability Month and it’s already almost halfway through November (my gosh, time is flying!), I figure it is high time I talk about the Sustainability House.

In the past decade or so, Luther College has done some amazing work in the realm of sustainability. From the wind turbine and the solar panels, to meeting our goal of 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2015, Luther has accomplished a great deal.

But what is really awesome about Luther in terms of “sustainability” is the opportunity for student involvement. There are a wide range of work study positions, from Gardens Crew, to Recycling Crew, to the Caf to Community program that I work in.

And to top it all off, Luther even has the Sustainability House. I am currently a member of the house, and I can honestly say that it has greatly improved my quality of life versus living in the dorms my first year. While I could literally write a novel about how amazing living in this house has been so far, I’ll let you guys off easy with my Top 3 Favorite things about the house.

  1. A House versus a Dorm room
    1. This one is obvious, but it is SO nice to live in an actual house, with a kitchen and a beautiful living room versus the dingy dorms.
  2. “Sustainability” Infrastructure
    1. While living in a way that minimizes waste, energy consumption, and water use challenges us to change our behavior, it is also nice when the infrastructure to succeed is available. For example, we have our own compost bins, recycling containers, drying racks, and even our own 3.84 kw solar panel. The house is also submetered to allow us to track our energy consumption and production. So each day, we write down how much energy we produced and used for everyone to see. Having access to this info challenges us to be more conscientious about our energy usage.
  3. My Fellow Housemates
    1. By far the best thing about living in the Sustainability house is not a thing at all, but the 9 other people that I live with. Each one of us has a different background and different interests (for example, we have a German major, Anthropology major, Psych and French double major, Bio Major, Chemistry Major and Environmental Studies Majors), yet we are all committed to trying to live more sustainably. And a big part of that is just defining what “sustainability” means for each of us and challenging one another to live up to these definitions.

Living in the Sustainability House has completely transformed my college life. I am grateful everyday for the opportunity to live with people I can call family in a house that I can call home.

Snapshot of my semi-organized desk

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