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Bridget Flynn
IU Office of Sustainability

Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More than 40 residence hall rooms certified as 'green' through new program

Nov. 8, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington has its first "green rooms" this month. A new IU initiative called the Green Dorm Room Certification Program allows students to certify their residence hall rooms as green.

The program, developed by the IU Office of Sustainability in partnership with Residential Programs and Services and the Residence Halls Association, aims to:

  • Provide students living in the residence halls a model for living sustainably in their rooms and beyond.
  • Connect students to sustainability-related community and campus organizations, as well as faculty working on sustainability-related projects.
  • Provide students a framework for educating their peers about sustainability and to connect with one another.

After reviewing the 40 certification criteria found on the program website, students can assess which actions they already are taking and set a goal for the number of criteria they would like to meet for certification, with 20 being the minimum.

Green Rooms

Sophomore Hannah Coots stands outside her room in Read Center, the first to be certified under IU's new Green Dorm Room Certification Program.

Print-Quality Photo

Some criteria, such as "I open shades or curtains to utilize natural light when indoors, instead of using more lighting" and "I turn off water while brushing teeth," provide students simple actions for reducing their ecological footprint while living in the residence halls. Additionally, the program encourages engagement in sustainability-related activities outside the residence halls through criteria such as "I take sustainability-based courses" and "I am a member of a sustainability-related extracurricular group."

Criteria are organized in eight categories -- energy, water, transportation, recycling, computing, laundry, involvement and other -- to provide students a model for living sustainably in their rooms and beyond.

Hannah Coots, an IU sophomore and RHA ecoRep at Read Residence Center, was the first student to certify her room. Soon after, Coots initiated the Greenest Floor Competition at Read in conjunction with the IU Energy Challenge. The floor that certifies the most rooms through the Green Room Certification Program will win a party. Coots and peers have been extremely successful, certifying more than 40 rooms in three weeks of competition.

"I knew you could certify your lawn as a wild, but I don't have a yard. I found this program and think it's so cool, because it provides a way of thinking about green living especially for dorm rooms," Coots says. "This program not only gives students who don't have yards or houses a framework for how to live sustainably in a residence hall setting, but also gives them the ability to demonstrate how they are living sustainably in their room, and be recognized for doing so."

Once students submit the online certification form, they are sent a certificate to be hung on their door, indicating that their room has been officially certified. Coots said that receiving the certificate served as an encouragement to "keep it up" and strive to follow more of the criteria than those she pledged to in her initial certification.

"Our goal is to have at least 100 students certify their rooms by the end of the fall semester," said Bridget Flynn, the sustainability and the first-year experience coordinator with the IU Office of Sustainability. "Throughout the year, we hope to solicit feedback in order to improve the program. This program has enormous potential to maximize the impact students can have by enabling them to live sustainably in their rooms and facilitating relationships with other like-minded students and sustainability-related campus and community organizations."

The Green Dorm Room Certification Program hopes to empower Indiana University Bloomington students to form healthy and sustainable living habits. These changes, when performed collectively, have the ability to decrease the ecological footprint of Indiana University, while saving the university money through the conservation of natural resources. Further, the program aspires to connect students to their peers, faculty and sustainability organizations, in order to heighten the potential for collaboration and innovation at Indiana University.

To certify a room or learn more about the program, visit the website at Questions or comments about the program can be directed to For more information about the IU Office of Sustainability, visit