Columbia University EcoReps is a group of students working in collaboration with Columbia’s offices of Housing, Dining, and Environmental Stewardship to promote sustainable behavior and implement green initiatives on Columbia’s campus.
EcoReps was founded in 2005 by a team of students and administrators from the Offices of Housing, Dining and Student Services. The brainchild of various offices under the leadership of Scott Wright, Vice-President of Campus Services, and a group of students led by Six Silberman and Coogan Brennan to create sustainable activism, policy, and infrastructure on Columbia’s campus. They were paid employees of Housing and Dining, serving as residence hall representatives seeking to increase the amount of sustainable living education to students through outreach and initiatives like reducing each building’s energy consumption and increasing the recycling rate in particular floors. Each EcoRep would be assigned a particular dormitory and the group would meet to outline specific projects. In 2009-2010 EcoReps coordinators re-imagined the organization as a functional student group without monetary compensation or residence hall assignment due to the strain it put on the members. Split up into various committees, beginning with Food and Water, Energy, Waste and Recycling, and ECO’s (the revamped version of the earlier residence hall format), the EcoReps increased their programming, recruitment, and impact on campus. Today, the EcoReps are comprised of about 50 active student members organized into Dining, Recycling, and Living Green committees.