What is an EcoRep?
An EcoRep is a dynamic first-year student who educates about environmental issues in their residence hall by hosting hall programs and maintaining an EcoBoard. In the spirit of our motto, we want to make our campus and world ever better, specifically by encouraging sustainable living.
EcoReps also move in before most of the other first-year students for a week of bonding activities, acclimation, and training. This year during pre-orientation, we kayaked, made a vegan meal together, a President’s Dinner, a hike, and many other interesting things.
What kind of a time commitment is it?
EcoReps attend an hour-long class twice a week, for which they earn two credits per semester. In class, you learn about a variety of sustainability-related topics, from the food industry to climate change, from green architecture to renewable energy. Outside of class, EcoReps must maintain an EcoBoard throughout the semester and host hall programs, both of which can be about any sustainability-related topic of their choice. The nice thing about EcoReps is that you can do these things at any time of day that suits you, which provides a lot of flexibility.
Meet next year’s student leaders
Every year, two former EcoRep students teach the class and connect students with resources to pursue sustainability initiatives. For instance, one of this year’s coordinators gave me the contact information for the director of Dining Services so that I could ask why reusable mugs aren’t an option at one of our dining halls when they are at the other. Sure enough, the next week they were available and I was pleased to see people using them instead of disposable to-go cups.
Below is the recently selected pair for next year.
Micaela is a history and German double major from Carthage, NY. The sustainability topic that interests her the most is permaculture. She is “most excited to learn from incoming students and get them more involved in the community” next year.
Dax is an anthropology major from Round Rock, TX. He is very interested in urban agriculture. For next year, Dax is “really excited to build off of the successes of EcoReps this year to keep the program growing!”
My Experience as an EcoRep
I have loved being an EcoRep. It has connected me with a diverse group of people who care about the environment and was the source of my first college friends. I have learned a lot from them and have become a better person as a result. The class is close-knit, which is a unique experience compared to the giant lecture classes that students often take in their first year. Plus, being an EcoRep has given me resources that I would not have had access to otherwise.
This has been very empowering and allowed me to create positive change, which has helped me feel more like I belong at Rochester. It has also encouraged me to engage with my residential, campus, and Rochester communities. Learning about a ton of sustainability-related topics was great too. I think that my favorite part of the program was hosting hall programs and updating my EcoBoard because they allow for a ton of autonomy and creativity. I was able to choose which sustainability topics I addressed, which created an authentic enthusiasm I’m not sure would have existed if the assignments were more controlled. I definitely recommend applying to be an EcoRep if you care about the environment, want to promote sustainable living, and/or enjoy being a change-maker.
How do I apply?
Each year, 30 applicants are selected as EcoReps. The application will be posted on the Class of 2022 (and subsequent class years as they join the University) Facebook page in May, so keep an eye out for it!
Upperclassmen who want to be involved with EcoReps as well and promote sustainability can apply to be Upperclass EcoReps. Responsibilities include moving in a day early to help with recycling during move-in, working with EcoReps to create biweekly newsletters to send to residents, hosting two hall programs per semester or being a committee mentor for current EcoReps, and sometimes meeting with the EcoReps director. The application for next year is now closed, but keep an eye out for next year’s application!