ASG’s Sustainability Committee offers free option to go green for off-campus students

Jillian Sandler, Campus Editor

Associated Student Government’s Sustainability Committee is offering free compact fluorescent light bulbs and water-efficient showerheads to all students living off campus.

The committee launched a Facebook event this week advertising the initiative, which aims to unite Northwestern and Evanston in a push for greener living, said Mark Silberg, ASG’s associate vice president for Sustainability. He said 300 students have signed up to receive the packages so far and the first ones will be distributed this weekend in the ASG office.

Silberg, a Weinberg junior, said he obtained the showerheads from Axe, a brand that produces body spray, shower gel and deodorant for men. The company was on campus in the fall handing out water-efficient showerheads and shower timers to promote their campaign for water conservation, and Silberg later received an email from them asking if anyone wanted these items. Evanston obtained the light bulbs through the Citizens Utility Board, according to the Facebook event page.

“This is definitely a joint initiative between Northwestern’s campus and the Evanston community,” Silberg said.

The committee currently has 700 light bulbs and 200 showerheads, Silberg said, but they will be able to get more supplies.

“I can say with pretty high confidence that we’ll be able to accommodate any student requests,” he said.

The packages are currently only available for students living off campus, but can also be requested by those who plan to live off campus next quarter or next year, Silberg said, though he added students in this situation may not receive the bulbs and shower heads right away. Students will receive an email when their packages are available and will have five days to pick them up.

Silberg also said shower timers will be provided to students living on campus during Green Cup in February.

The fluorescent light bulbs provided are more energy-efficient than incandescent ones, as the energy in the latter go mostly toward producing heat instead of visible light, and the showerheads provided use 20 percent less water than others, Silberg said. He said ASG will be launching a real-time online clock that will track the energy, water and financial savings incurred by students as a result of the initiative.

Despite wanting to make his apartment more green, SESP sophomore Larry Svabek said the fact the package contained only two light bulbs deterred him from signing up to receive a package.

“It’ll probably save me time to just pick up all the light bulbs I need when I go to the store,” Svabek said. “It would be more effective to get all of my apartment energy efficient, not just two light bulbs,” Svabek said.

ASG President Victor Shao said the initiative will provide a basis of momentum for the Sustainability Committee, which was just formed last spring.

“It’s a cool way to have an immediate impact for such a new committee, and it’s something we can work off of to build momentum so that we can move toward a bigger drive for sustainability,” he said.

The ultimate goal of the initiative, Silberg said, is to get students to band together to make the community greener.

“Our interest as an institution is seeing the cumulative impact from all of these students taking small immeasurable steps,” he said.