Columbia University EcoReps is a group of students working in collaboration with Columbia Housing, Dining Services, 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. Previous initiatives included the bikeshare program with Zagster and the Rocket, the composter in Ruggles that was fed food waste from John Jay.
Today, EcoReps is a student group organized into the Dining, Conscious Consumption/Recycling, and Living Green committees. We are responsible for the Give and Go Green donation program during move-out and the resulting Green Sales at the beginning of fall semester (since 2011). We also run the Youth Climate Summit for NYC-area high school groups (since 2018). EcoReps holds many events throughout the year, including Plate Scrapings in John Jay Dining Hall, clothing swaps, panels and workshops, and Kill The Cup, which promotes the use of reusable mugs instead of disposable coffee cups in campus dining halls and cafes.