What’s an Eco-Rep?
Eco-Reps are first-year students committed to creating a culture of sustainability at Penn State. The position is paid and welcomes students from diverse majors and backgrounds to encourage sustainable behaviors in the residence halls through fun activities. Currently, the program is only in East Halls, with Eco-Reps working with their peers in every hall. The program targets behavior changes among their student body, and institutional changes in the halls and common areas. The Eco-Reps help the university use its resources more efficiently while lessening the impact Penn State has on the surrounding environment. The Eco-Reps have had many successes that include the creation and implementation of Penn State’s Zero Waste Program, as well as diverting thousands of pounds of trash from the landfill and carbon dioxide from the air.
Eco-Reps make Penn State a more sustainable and healthy university. Check out the fun Eco-Reps had when they hosted a flash mob during the 2012 recycling challenge!
What Eco-Reps Do
- Lead the charge for the recycling challenge in East Halls
- Lead the East Halls energy competition
- Gain practical experience working in the growing field of sustainability
- Teach fellow students how to make more sustainable choices and why it matters
- Connect with other students, student groups, faculty, and staff
- Become leaders in the residence halls
The Eco-Rep Program is made possible by the collaborative efforts of Housing, Residence Life, Penn State faculty, and the Sustainability Institute.
What do Eco-Reps Do?
Eco-Reps focus on different aspects of sustainability throughout the year.
Eco-Reps learn about sustainability and leadership from Penn State faculty and staff through readings, tours, and trainings. Some of these experiences include a tour of the recycling center and a local meal at the Morning Star Solar Home.
During the fall semester, Eco-Reps lead a week-long, recycling challenge in East Halls. During the challenge, Eco-Reps run programs such as an ice cream social to teach about proper recycling and composting.
East Halls’ buildings compete against each other and over 100 other universities in Campus Conservation Nationals during three weeks in March and April. The challenge is led by Eco-Reps and their captains (students recruited from their halls). Tener Hall won in spring 2014 by reducing its energy usage by 7.4%!
Eco-Reps work tirelessly to promote awareness of healthier and more sustainable living at Penn State. Although the energy and recycling challenges are the year's "main events," Eco-Reps promote sustainability throughout the year.
Eco-Reps host tables in the HUB and Findlay to demonstrate correct recycling and composting (such as at Earth Day 2013) and spread knowledge through social media campaigns, face-to-face marketing ("dorm-storming" in the residence halls), and updating bulletin boards with sustainability tips.
How to Apply
Fill out this online application.
Penn State Eco-Reps are a group of first-year students in East Halls who encourage their fellow students to make more sustainable choices. The program is open to all incoming first-year students at University Park. Eco-Reps lead many programs in East Halls, including a recycling challenge, power-down campaigns for breaks, an energy challenge, and other fun and educational opportunities. Eco-Reps are trained through team meetings and experiential activities to become sustainability leaders in their residence halls.
As an Eco-Rep, you will gain the knowledge and skills to successfully communicate sustainability to your peers. Our goal is to increase overall student awareness of effective actions that encourage stewardship and lead to lasting change on campus that benefits the Penn State community now and into the future.
Typical qualifications of a successful Eco-Rep include:
- Ability to communicate effectively through a variety of means with diverse groups
- Ability to work independently and collaboratively
- Ability to see projects through to completion
- Time management skills
- Desire to contribute to a happier and healthier Penn State
- Enthusiasm and creativity
The ideal Eco-Rep candidate is not necessarily the one with the most knowledge about the environment. We look for people with strong leadership and communication skills who are enthusiastic about learning about and promoting sustainable living. If you are reliable, good-natured, and excited to be a sustainability advocate in your residence hall, we want you!
Essential Responsibilities and Requirements
- Engange peers on issues of resource conservation and behavior change
- Work closely with program partners to identify, implement, and act as a liaison on projects (such as recycling, composting, water reduction, energy conservation, etc.)
- Attend weekly Eco-Reps meetings, as well as additional training opportunities
- Develop creative outreach materials (posters, emails, bulletin boards, social media, films, etc.)
- Be available to work 4-5 hours per week on the Eco-Reps program
Students who are offered the position will be housed within East Halls. Eco-Reps must remain in their original building (roommate and other housing requests will be matched as much as possible). Leaving East or the original building assignment will result in termination from the position. Additionally, Eco-Reps are required to meet every Tuesday night, as well as occasional Thursday and Sunday training sessions. These meetings count as work hours.
All passionate students are highly encouraged to apply, but students should seriously consider their dedication to the position before accepting. Academics are always a priority, but managing time between Eco-Reps and other major commitments (such as Blue Band, sports teams, or a social fraternity/sorority) can be difficult.
Please complete the online application by August 8, 2014. Sustainability Institute staff will review applications and offer a phone interview to all candidates who meet our requirements.
$1000 stipend, delivered via eLion ($500 per semester).
Who's Your Eco-Rep?
Check back during August to learn about the Eco-Reps in your hall!
The following resources are available for current Eco-Reps as well as the program's Penn State partners and Eco-Reps programs at other schools.
Eco-Reps Manuals, Agendas, and Schedules
Eco-Reps Fall Semester Calendar (coming soon)
Eco-Reps Spring Semester Calendar (coming soon)
Recycling & Compost Materials