Workshop will empower students, promote sustainable off-campus housing

Students take into consideration many matters when it comes to renting in Blacksburg. Making the most sustainable choice is extremely important.
February 17, 2016
Mary Desmond



Blacksburg, Va., February 17, 2016 - Off-Campus housing fairs are just one way students can learn about rental units' sustainable efforts. Photo Credit: Mary Desmond


Virginia Tech’s Students for Clean Energy and Blacksburg’s sustainability manager, Carol Davis, are teaming up to hold a Green Living Expo on February 24th in Squires Dominion Ballroom from 6-8pm. The workshop will empower students to assert their environmental values when choosing off-campus housing in Blacksburg.


“Students, when they are looking to rent an apartment, have a lot of power in which one they choose,”  says Amory Fischer, a member of Students for Clean Energy and the Environmental Coalition. Amory is majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning. He also works very closely with the Office of Energy and Sustainability on campus. 


Carol Davis, Blacksburg’s sustainability manager, is very excited about the upcoming event. Not only because it will educate students on the importance of sustainable living, but also because it will help to promote a more sustainable Blacksburg as a whole.


Four core speakers - Greg Tew, David Roper, John Randolph, and Mike Ellerbrock - will kick off the workshop by outlining the necessary characteristics of an environmentally sustainable rental. For example, topics such as energy efficiency within the rental unit, waste recyclability, and convenient alternative transportation options will be addressed.


In addition to the four key speakers who will open the workshop, there will also be an activity with the students. Carol believes the interactive part of the expo will make the biggest impact on the students.


“Upon entering the event, students will receive a set of stickers which will act as their ‘rental dollars.’”


Carol will ask students important questions such as: Where would you invest your rental dollars? Which features do you value the most?

















































According to Michael McDonough, President of the Environmental Coalition, sustainability is broken up into three core values.


“When I was explained sustainability, it was described to me in three tiers: economy, environment, and equity. It is important to think about all three when considering sustainability.”


As students allocate their “rental dollars,” they will be

thinking about which values will affect each of these

“tiers of sustainability.” These three traits are what each

and every student should be considering when choosing

off-campus housing.


This is a time when students are particularly influential

with property management. They can easily walk away

from a complex if it doesn’t align with their sustainable

needs. This impact will allow the complexes to rethink

their apartments’ facilities in order to make them more

environmentally friendly. Otherwise, they will lose



“The event will offer great feedback for the area

complexes. They’ll be able to see what features are

most important to students looking to rent. It will promote 

sustainable investments and work towards a green



Carol’s efforts with sustainability campaigns in the past have reached wide audiences. Caught Green Handed was launched during Sustainability Week 2015 - a week of partnership between Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, and Sustainable Blacksburg. Caught Green Handed’s mission is to recognize those who take efforts to live a sustainable life. For instance, carrying refillable water bottles, riding bikes, or recycling.


Carol hopes to expand these green recognitions, also called ecolabels, to become green certifications for local businesses and especially the apartment complexes in Blacksburg. 

Green Ambassador
Town Hall

Find out more about sustainability in Blacksburg by clicking on these various links!