This year’s residents, Libby and Meriel, welcome you all to SEED this year!Meriel:
Hi everyone, my name is Meriel and I am the newest addition to the SEED program! I am originally from Olympia, home to a progressive community, lots of rain and of course the state’s capital.
Both my parents, and the greater Olympia community, helped me foster a deep appreciation of nature. This appreciation as led me to be passionate about exploring and preserving the environment.
Now that I am at Western, this passion has ultimately led me to be involved in various sustainability activities on campus, like SEED. During the upcoming year, my roommate Libby and I are looking forward to advocating energy-efficient practices by giving tours of our room, tabling at events, and blogging. We have also decided to add a fun twist to our blog; each week one of us will take on a new Eco challenge and share our experiences. These challenges could be anything from cutting shower times to not eating meat for a week (disclaimer: I am already a vegetarian!)
I am excited to continue to learn ways to bring sustainable practices to our everyday lives. I hope you all are too.
My name is Libby Keller and I am currently a junior majoring in journalism. It is my second year at Western as well as my second year as a resident of the SEED project. When I moved to Bellingham in 2013, I did so largely blind. I confirmed my acceptance without having ever seen the campus in person and without any more of a perception about its way of life than what I’d garnered online. But from the first time I drove up High Street during Summer Start, I’ve considered Western my home.
Likewise, from the first time I stepped into Buchanan Towers room 514 I have felt at home. During those first few months SEED was still under construction and my roommate, Jacquelyn Stenman, and I could only speculate as to what the changes would bring. Living among tools like outlet timers and shower charts, as well as having all our energy use captured and recorded, was a bit intimidating to the both of us.
Growing up in Spokane, I’d never experienced sustainability beyond basic recycling—and even that was only done grudgingly and with no idea as to why it was important. So the purpose of the SEED technologies was about as foreign as could be at that point. But I had agreed to take part in the project for the opportunity to learn and experience new things, while also putting myself outside of my comfort zone, and I was determined to do so.
When the technologies arrived after Christmas break, it was clear that SEED would most definitely be just such an opportunity. We spent winter quarter getting acquainted with our new room additions and slowly building more sustainable habits to match them. It was difficult at times—for the life of me, I didn’t seem capable of remembering to turn off my outlet strip when I left for class. But once we got through the initial struggle of keeping up with our changes, they easily became part of our everyday lives.
Soon we were seeing ourselves unconsciously making even more changes. Being aware of how long our showers were, evolved into actively trying to shorten them. Tracking electricity use led to us purchasing an analogue clock so we wouldn’t have to leave our microwave plugged in all the time.
Then in the spring, we began sharing these experiences on the blog. Every week we highlighted one piece of technology and how we had seen it affect our lives. These weekly reflections not only allowed us to help educate others about sustainable living, it allowed us the opportunity to really think about what it’s like to live in a college dorm while remaining conscious of our environmental footprint.
Last year was a tremendous learning experience, and my decision to return to BT 514 was greatly influenced by the chance to learn even more. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to sharing it with all of you.
It’s great to be back!
SEED will be tabling at the Sustainability Expo on November 13th. Come check us out!