Everything that we need for survival depends directly or indirectly on our natural environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability creates and maintains the conditions so humans and nature can exist in productive harmony while striving to improve future generations.
In light of the school theme of sustainability, the Albion Umbrella House has recently moved to a larger location and is starting to make conscious efforts to become green, sustainable and environmental friendly. Umbrella is the governing body of all the multicultural student organizations with a goal to support every under-represented student group.
“The 11 different groups have access to the house,” said Po Davis, Macomb senior and Umbrella House historian.
Members meet to voice concerns, share difficulties or accomplishments and work to inform the Albion community about the importance of campus diversity. The Umbrella house improvement started with fresh paint and general building touch-ups of the new location behind 1107 E. Cass St.
“Umbrella is making steps to make this new house green and earth friendly,” said Rainbow Weldon, global diversity student leadership coordinator. “Sustainability is something the college values as one of our theme years, and it is something Umbrella leaders feel strongly about as well.”
Within the house, students try to be more green and economical with their supplies. They use biodegrable and compostable products like forks, plates and cups for events. They also use glass mugs instead of styrofoam cups for coffee nights to reduce waste.
“All students who are a part of Umbrella have done various things to promote eco-friendly efforts,” said Darrian Hollonquest, Detroit senior and Umbrella House treasurer. “Students recycle more, ride bikes or walk and use the newly-purchased compost bin.”
Also new to the house is a compost worm bin which reduces the amount of trash going into the landfill. These bins provide a system for turning food waste into potting soil with by the work of decomposing worms. Growing from this year’s improvements, the Umbrella house continues to develop as both a sustainable house and center for student diversity.