Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
While brushing their teeth in the morning, many students feast their eyes upon “Water Efficiency Measures for Residencies,” a poster that provides such helpful tips as “Report all leaks,” “Take short showers,” and, oh! “Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.” These students then dutifully turn off the water that has been running all along, doing their part to conserve water and validating Earthlust’s newest initiative.
According to Earthlust co-coordinator Kavita Hardy ’08, the posters are “part of a larger effort to promote campus greening.” Earthlust has a particularly large membership this year thanks to an influx of “very motivated” freshmen, and they plan to be more active than ever.
During a Storm the Dorms event held a few weeks ago, Earthlust members engaged students in conversations about water and energy conservation as well as recycling. Hardy points out that while “water is generally wasted in our society… it is something we can very easily pay attention to and monitor.”
Earthlust doesn’t just talk to students about conservation; they also strive to make it easier for them to conserve. For example, Earthlust wants to put communal drying racks and clotheslines in all of the dorms. At the moment only Wharton has such equipment, but the campus could save a lot of water if more people used clotheslines instead of driers. The initiative also has a practical component. As Liz Crow ’09 points out, “The Mertz driers just don’t work.”
Another of this semester’s initiatives is making campus recycling cans more visible by painting them with fun patterns or bright colors. These are all part of campus greening efforts; Earthlust also has a political action group currently lobbying for a bill in the Pennsylvania House and a conservation group interested in “making the Crum more accessible to students.” While groups such as the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee are already working on this, the additional labor of Earthlust will make it possible to get a lot more done.