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April 7, 2011 Volume 32, No. 26

Sustainahouse residents will lead by example


Six students chosen to share sustainable lifestyle

A group of college students who competed to live under one roof has the makings of a reality TV show. But the six University of Missouri students who will move into 210 N. College Ave. will be participating in a bold experiment in sustainable living.

Sustainahouse is equal parts commune, research project and teaching moment. Each resident in the six-bedroom East Campus rental house is required to carry out a project that will reduce the daily consumption of natural resources. They will grow their own food, monitor energy consumption and live within a budget.

Meanwhile, they will open their home to neighborhood residents, community groups and fellow students as an example to others. During tours and in a Facebook page, residents will share tips for living more sustainably and current research about green living.

“Telling people ‘You should do this,’ or ‘You should do that’ doesn’t really work,” says Monica Everett, a sophomore from Kansas City, who was selected as one of the six from about three dozen people who submitted applications to Sustain Mizzou, a volunteer-run nonprofit group of MU students. “We want to lead by example. We’re going to show people that introducing sustainability into all facets of their college life is possible.”

Mizzou Sustainahouse will be a first among the large schools that comprise the Big 12 Conference, according to Sustain Mizzou.

“When I was applying to go to university, I visited small liberal arts schools. Many of them had some sort of environmental based living community,” says Claire Friedrichsen, one of the creators of the Sustainahouse project.

Everett, who is majoring in sustainable agriculture, plans to implement a project to showcase how college students can grow healthful foods on a budget. Other residents will handle finances, dispose of waste and garden. Residents will track their resource conservation; one goal is to reduce the average utility use for a six-resident home by 20 percent. The house will employ Mizzou Dashboard, an energy-monitoring program that gauges use of water and electricity.

“I’m really excited that I can now take the next step — that I can live in a community of people who share those same ideals,” Everett says.

— David Wietlispach