Each year the Housing Programs Office at the George Washington University offers nine townhouses in the Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C. campus to be occupied by groups of undergraduate students. These “living and learning cohorts” (LLCs) must be tied together by a yearlong thematic project, incorporating an educational aspect to campus living. As founding members of the Green GW student organization on campus, a student group focused on sustainability and climate change, myself and three friends applied for an LLC townhouse in February 2007. Because Green GW was started just one year ago, we were looking for a way to gain membership and a greater presence on campus through the townhouse, as well as a means to increase awareness at GW about sustainable living.
We were awarded residency of a townhouse in March of 2007 and will begin our stay in September with a project budget of $500. During the nine months we will reside in the Green GW House, our goal is to cut down on energy and water consumption by 25% while reducing waste by 50%; however, our ultimate goal is to establish the Green GW House as a part of the University community. Ideally, we would like to see it occupied by new individuals each year, allowing GW students to composite a number of significant changes to the house over the coming years. We hope to create a sustainable townhouse in D.C.’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood that will both teach and inspire others. Our house will be a step forward in our pursuit of making a “greener” George Washington University and will serve as a model to our fellow students. We will show students that there are feasible ways to make a difference by comparing the energy and water usage of the town house from the 2006-2007 school year to our use in the upcoming year. By Thanksgiving 2007 we would like to have made all the proper adjustments to turn our house into a “green” house and be able to give tours to our fellow students during the spring semester.