Green Terp News

Meet Lee-Ellen, our Green Housing Coordinator

Believe it or not, sustainability and environmental stewardship are not concepts that I thought very much about growing up and weren’t ever ingrained into me by my parents or community. My passion for the environment is something that was sparked and fostered by my four undergraduate years at the University of Maryland.

When I began my first year as an unsuspecting freshman, I had no idea that a class about the Chesapeake Bay would lead me to declare a sustainability minor. I had no idea that minor would lead me to study sustainable development abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. I had no idea that I would graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy at the end of those four years. In fact, if you told my high school self that I would become a composting vegetarian that carries a bamboo fork in her purse, she wouldn’t believe you.

Thankfully, this university’s commitment to sustainability enabled me to discover my passion. Teaching others the importance of sustainability and the power of our actions is something that I loved doing as an undergraduate student as part of the Office of Sustainability’s LEAF Outreach Team. As an outreach intern, I was able to connect with my fellow students and make environmental action more accessible, which was incredibly rewarding.

I am excited to be a part of continuing that commitment in my new role as the Green Housing Associate in the Office of Sustainability. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Resident Life and Fraternity and Sorority Life to introduce Terps on campus to sustainability through the Green Terp and Green Chapter programs. It is my genuine hope that with the help of these programs, Terps will leave UMD understanding that small actions taken every day have a monumental impact in making our campus and community more sustainable.

I look forward to continuing to apply my passion to encouraging sustainable living on campus and with any luck, the growing culture of sustainability at UMD will awaken the passion in others like me.

Lee-Ellen Myles, Green Housing Associate

 

Summary of Green Terp Pilot Program - Spring 2017

The Green Terp program, a partnership between the Department of Resident Life and the Office of Sustainability, engaged residential students in a dynamic program that promotes personal sustainability action. The program supported and rewarded students that took steps to reduce their environmental footprint.  Green Terp provided an action checklist, guidelines, support and rewards for participation. The program was designed for individual students primarily in their freshmen and sophomore years.

Students completed five simple steps to become a certified Green Terp:

  1. Green Terp registration took place within each residence hall twice per month during the Spring semester.
  2. Students signed the Green Terp Pledge that was personalized for each hall and was displayed prominently at the Front Desk during the pilot.
  3. Participants received a magnetic Green Terp Checklist that they could display in their room as a reminder of their actions.
  4. Students were informed and participated in Green Terp through residence hall engagement activities, an ELMS page, a Green Terp website and newsletter, and a monthly social media contest.
  5. Participants who completed ten actions on the checklist became Green Terp Certified. They received certification awards and were recognized in the newsletter.

During the pilot phase (Spring 2017), the program operated in two residence halls: Oakland Hall and Ellicott Hall, totaling approximately 1,300 students.  The goal of the pilot program was to reach 20% of students within the pilot residence halls or approximately 260 students.  This goal was achieved and Green Terp registered a total of 295 students! In addition, 83 students became Green Terp certified, which is 28% of participating students.

121 Green Terp participants also completed the post-pilot survey. Some key survey results are:

Agree/Strongly Agree:

  • 92% said signing up was easy.
  • 69% said magnetic checklist was awesome.
  • 70% said the Green Terp activities were a fun and important part of the program.

Neutral:

  • 38% were neutral about Green Terp ELMS page.
  • 42% were neutral about the Green Terp newsletter.

Other:

  • 74% of respondents were certified Green Terps.
  • 67% of respondents who DIDN’T certify said that it was because they were too busy to participate.

As a way to evaluate the program’s effectiveness at changing behavior, students were asked to place themselves on a sustainability behavior continuum when they registered and then again when they became certified. Statistics show that Green Terp moved students along the continuum from least sustainable to most sustainable.