Tyler Dunham makes a great "green" impact
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November 07, 2007
Tyler Dunham '09 stands in front of the solar array on the roof of Park residence hall.
The award, presented to Dunham during the college's fall weekend celebration, recognizes outstanding students for their leadership efforts and dedication to energy conservation, renewable energy, recycling and waste minimization and other campus environmental concerns.
Dunham's efforts are tireless. Last year, the environmental studies major helped launch the energy-saving initiative -Concert from Conservation.- The idea was if students could use 10 percent less electricity - by doing such things as using compact fluorescent light bulbs, turning off lights and computers, and doing bigger loads of laundry - students could use 25 percent of the money saved to help fund a concert on campus. The initiative was a huge success; students reduced their energy usage in the campus residence halls by 12 percent and earned about $2,500, which helped enhance the spring Floralia concert festival.
As president of the college's Renewable Energy Club, Dunham works closely with the college's Environmental Model Committee, a group of faculty, staff and students responsible for developing programs and policies - such as the college's Green Building Policy and Renewable Energy Policy - that integrate environmental sustainability into all aspects of campus life.
He also has organized a number of campus awareness events, such as the popular -Blackout Night,- during which students turn off all electronics in the dorms and participate in outdoor events requiring little or no energy. Dunham said the enthusiasm for the event was inspiring. -The students were so motivated. Just seeing so many people out for a cause like that - I knew it was a huge success.-
Last fall, Dunham and fellow environmentalists Misha Johnson '08 and Leia Crosby '09 decided to take sustainability one step further and came up with a plan to start a campus composting system. They proposed using commercial-sized compost units to reduce the amount of food waste generated by the college, and entered the idea in General Electric and mtvU's -Ecomagination Challenge.- Their proposal was among the top 10 finalists, and earned the support of an anonymous donor who was impressed by the students' efforts and agreed to fund the project.
Dunham says he is proud of the interest and activism shown by his peers, and believes it is a major step toward greener living on campus. And he still hopes to do more.
Next semester, Dunham is traveling to Australia to study environmental sustainability and gain a global perspective on living green. After college, he hopes to pursue a career in alternative energy marketing. Wherever his future takes him, Dunham is working hard to ensure it is green.
- By Erin Burdett