Green Living house promotes student sustainability

Allegheny College offers various special interest housing options for students and organizations wishing to live together in a more self-sustaining environment. One of these options is the Green Living house on Loomis Street. The house has several key features that make it one of the most environmentally friendly living options on Allegheny’s campus.

One of the most popular aspects of the property is the small chicken coop in the backyard. While the number of chickens is not large enough to provide a large quantity of eggs, the chickens provide enough for the residents of the house.

“We only are allowed to have a few chickens on campus, so (their eggs are) just for our personal consumption,” Akeem Adesiji, ’20, said. “If we were allowed to have more and had a massive flock of chickens back there, then maybe we would look at something else, but we also have like seven or eight people in the house.”

Freddy Smith, ’20, who has been living in Green Living since the fall semester began, said the chickens are his favorite feature of the house because of how they reduce the residents’ carbon footprint.

“They save eggs (other than from) a mass produced source, so if we source them sustainably here, that saves a lot of energy from eggs being transported to the grocery stores or maybe less sustainable practices than the eggs being produced (in large amounts),” Smith said. “It’s kind of the option of an organic farm, just a really small scale.”

Other than the chickens, the house works in tandem with the Allegheny Bike Share program, which stores bikes in the basement of Green Living. Adesiji said his next project is to create a bike-washing machine for their laundry.

“The bike washing machine is my project that I would like to get done like this semester ideally,” Adesiji said. “I think that would be fun, and then I wouldn’t have to walk to Schultz (Hall) to do my laundry.”

Fellow Green Living resident Sam Williams, ’21, also noted the walk to Schultz to do laundry. She said that all the house needs now is a physical washing machine.

“I like the bike washing idea because (then) we don’t have to go up to Schultz to do our laundry, which would also help with all of the rags we use,” Williams said. “Plus it makes sense to have it, (Adesiji has) wanted it for a couple years now, Kelly (Boulton, sustainability coordinator, is) all about it. We just need a washing machine at this point.”

Adesiji said the group is actively working on acquiring a washing machine.

“If anyone has any extra washing machines they’re getting rid of, we’d like to hook one up to a bike so we can just pedal our laundry,” Adesiji said.

The house is also sustainable when it comes to waste management. Not only is the house paper free, but it also has a compost box in the backyard near the parking lot that is open to anyone on campus to dispose of food waste, according to Williams.

“Meadville does recycle — they changed their policy a little bit last year, but it’s really not that much different,” Williams said. “I think it confused a lot of people, so I think staying up to date with the trash laws and the recycling policies, and all of that stuff is important because otherwise it just all goes in the landfill.”

While Green Living prides itself on its eco friendliness, there is always more the house can do to strive for carbon neutrality. One thing the residents said they wished they had was a small garden.

“I would add a front or back garden, change some of the lawn space to growing vegetables and such,” Smith said. “We make a lot of food at this house, so if we could use that compost to have some raised beds in the front or back, grow our own vegetables, that would save a lot of money, time, carbon.”

Although it is something the group desires to have, Adesiji said they still need to work out logistics to make their dream a reality.

“I would like to see some sort of garden, but that’s tough to do because of timing,” Adesiji said. “You need people here over the summer to take care of it.”

Through producing their own supply of eggs, changing laundry habits and being mindful of waste management, the students at Green Living work to live sustainably, and are always thinking of more ways to do so.