EcoHouse residents share their knowledge of going green during an open house.
EcoHouse residents opened their home to the campus community April 23, exhibiting the many projects they have initiated throughout the academic year.
Four students called the EcoHouse home this year: Julia Kuebelbeck '14, St. Cloud, Minn.; Sara Conley '14, Helena, Mont.; Kristina Kaupa '14, Owatonna, Minn.; and Emily Donovan '14, Stillwater, Minn.
The EcoHouse is an off-campus living space that provides a learning environment for students to live a sustainable lifestyle. Living in the house, students learn about eco-lifestyles and practice practical ways to go green through project management, hands-on activities and by taking responsibility for lifestyle choices. Projects include using solar energy, reducing use of plastic products and creating natural cleaning products.
The EcoHouse residents kept themselves busy this year with various projects. The students transformed a bicycle into a stationary bike that can charge electronic devices. They also redecorated the kitchen using potatoes as stamps to paint the cupboards – a cheap and natural alternative to manufactured brushes.
Earlier this spring, students created aquaponics – a filtration system that utilizes the water that fish swim in to give nutrients to plants. The plants then clean the water and the water goes back to the fish.
EcoHouse residents selected for 2014-15 are Aaron Thompson '15, Nicollet, Minn.; Jesse Partee '16, Wauwatosa, Wis.; Janelle Jennissen '16, Motley, Minn.; Maddie Hyde '16, Fargo, N.D.; and AJ Eckberg '15, Bloomington, Minn.
This summer, this group will focus efforts on the property’s outdoor space. Landscaping projects include plans to insert rain gardens and raised beds. They plan to plant rhubarb, fruit trees, flowers, veggies and prairie grass. During the next year, the residents will research energy-efficient doors that will provide better insulation and, ideally, lower heating costs.
“The EcoHouse is an excellent opportunity to engage in a sustainable lifestyle with others who share your passion,” Partee says.
Students selected to live in the EcoHouse are expected to not only participate in the home’s sustainability projects but to act as ambassadors for sustainable living to the Concordia community.
“I’m excited to serve as an example of ethical and eco-friendly living,” Jennissen says. “Also, I’m excited to expand my knowledge on how our daily lives affect the environment.”