Living and breathing sustainability–literally

The University of Rhode Island proudly offers a Sustainable Living Learning Community in Garrahy Residence Hall. The ten-person suite is on its second year and provides students with the opportunity to live sustainably and learn more about the importance of environmentally conscious living.

Lizmaylin Ramos, a sophomore majoring in psychology and biology, is completing her second semester in the Sustainable LLC and describes the experience as “a change in mindset.”

Ramos first heard about the Sustainable LLC her freshmen year, began attending meetings, and applied for housing for the fall 2016 semester. The previous year the Sustainable LLC was housed in Eddy Residence Hall, but moved to Garrahy so that residents could utilize the kitchen to cook and eat sustainably.

“Living together, we encourage one another to shop locally for food,” explained Ramos. “We limit our food waste by composting, something the dining halls do not offer.”

“The Living Learning Community teaches us to make changes to our lifestyles, without being a burden,” said Ramos. “We learn tips and tricks to hold ourselves accountable at our own pace.”

In the fall semester, residents of the LLC were challenged to complete a direct study of a topic of their choosing surrounding sustainability. Having attributed her love of the environment to an AP Environmental Science course, Ramos elected to pursue a direct study on sustainability within academia.

“I wanted to promote access and exposure to sustainability early on in schools,” said Ramos.

Having completed the direct study, residents moved towards pursuing internships for the spring semester. While many of the residents complete their internships on campus, Ramos travels to Providence and works in the Botanical Center.

“Elementary students take field trips to the center and we provide them with an education and interactive tour, helping them gain confidence in learning science,” explained Ramos.

The hands-on experience that the elementary students gain through their field trip is similar to the knowledge obtained in the weekly meetings held for the LLC.

Ramos describes learning to make sustainable homemade deodorant and a field trip to the Johnston Landfill. “Our learning is focused on the different dimensions of sustainability, but we also learn how to hold ourselves accountable for our daily behaviors” said Ramos.

“Rhode Island only has one landfill,” explained Ramos, “and it will be completely filled within the next eleven years.”

“The importance of sustainability is that we need to keep it going because sustainability is a lifestyle; I’ve learned to look at it as a change in mindset as opposed to a sacrifice to my daily behaviors,” said Ramos.

Ramos recommends everyone to consider applying to the live in the Sustainable LLC, due to the unique experience of being held accountable in the most supportive way.