Resident Assistants compete for the "Greenest RA" title

Congratulations to RA Chelsea Claverie from the Hercules Community, as she has been dubbed the 2016 Greenest RA!

In co-occurrence with the Kill-A-Watt Energy Conservation Competition, UCF Resident Assistants are given an opportunity to compete for "Greenest RA." This title wins the individual a two semester, all-access meal plan provided by UCF Business Services.

Claverie approached this challenge both personally and interpersonally, by first incorporating sustainability into her own lifestyle. Not only was she the first to get Green Room Certified, but also received the greatest number of tallies in the certification point system. She was especially crafty in repurposing old items in a new way, such as painting an old side table to revamp it, using single-use glasses as flower vases, and recycling paper to make hanging papier-mâché decorations. In addition, she incorporated sustainability into her curriculum by taking Sustainability in Engineering with Dr. Tatari this semester; this course focused on the vitality of adding sustainable aspects to our technology. Claverie noted, "Since taking the sustainability course, I have become acutely aware of many current issues involving our carbon footprint. I think that participating in the Greenest RA Challenge help[ed] me make personal lifestyle changes above and beyond what I would be able to do on my own."

Interpersonally, Claverie engaged her residents in Building 110 through programming and signage. With this, as with any initiative, she encountered some struggles. "When I first entered the Greenest RA Challenge, I assumed that it would be easy—a natural extension of my own inclinations to recycle and conserve energy, water, etc., but I was wrong. As the year went on, I realized that many people within Hercules didn’t even know what sustainability meant, let alone how they should apply it to their own lives. Many of my residents confessed that they didn’t even recycle, or didn’t know what should and should not go into the recycle bin."

Under this realization, she decided to create a Jeopardy-themed educational board using old housing flyers. The engaging game style bulletin focused on electricity use, sustainable food, recycling, and green living. She also staffed a Sustainability Resource Fair within Hercules that connected residents with various groups on campus that incorporate sustainability.

Claverie found that passive programming would be another receptive outlet for participation. She dedicated a corner of her floor to Kill-A-Watt which included information on how to recycle and other ways to live more green. The corner also had an array of recycling bins - one for paper, unwanted books, mixed recycling, and a blue donation bin where residents could “recycle” their clothing by sending it to Knights’ Pantry. Claverie noted as a first floor RA, her passive actions were typically seen by the entire building — 150+ residents.

Claverie reflected, "The Greenest RA Challenge really helped me find my voice, and showed me that I have the power to advocate for a greener lifestyle." Thank you to the other RAs who participated in this year's Greenest RA Competition. Keep up the good work!

During the Hercules Sustainability Resource Fair, Claverie and her residents made seed paper out of recycled housing flyers,
and decorated clay pots and/or repurposed water bottles to plant the seed paper after use.