Going Green: U.Va. Demonstration Dorm Rooms Feature Eco-Friendly Products

June 29, 2009 — This summer, officials at the University of Virginia Bookstore and the Housing Division are encouraging incoming first-year students to think green when purchasing college dorm necessities like laundry detergent and notebooks.

To jumpstart students' eco-friendly mindsets, the U.Va. bookstore has placed many environmentally friendly products in four demonstration rooms in Page and Lile houses for incoming students attending summer orientation sessions.

The green products are mostly desk items and school supplies, including binders and notebooks made from recycled products, U.Va. bookstore marketing manager Pat Perkins said.

Fabric softener, trash bags, paper towels and multi-surface cleaner made by Seventh Generation, a company that manufactures environmentally responsible products, also appear in the room.

Green options, however, extend beyond cleaning supplies and desk items for U.Va. students. Cavalier Computers, a division of the U.Va. bookstore, delivers computers, refrigerators and microwaves that boast an Environmental Protection Agency energy rating of "silver" or "gold," which indicate high levels of energy efficiency.

The green products fit in with U.Va.'s green emphasis in general, director of accommodations John Evans said. Other environmental efforts from U.Va. include the 2008 establishment of a President's Committee on Sustainability and the creation of three new positions to support sustainability efforts.

While the Housing Division has used outside vendors in the past to furnish the rooms, Evans says the University Bookstore furnished all of the rooms this year.

"With the current economic climate, we need to support auxiliary parts of the University," Evans said.

Orientation attendees Courtney Sims and Julia Aronson said they have not started picking out dorm room accessories, and would consider using environmentally friendly alternatives.

"I'm glad U.Va. is promoting green products, " Sims said.

All of the products featured in the dorm room can be found at the U.Va. Bookstore. Summer orientation sessions run through Aug. 21.

— By Laura Hoffman