Notice anything different about me?

Well, I'll tell you what's different: I cut my hair!

Before this morning, people would often accidentally sit on my hair when they sat next to me on the couch. I had bleached the last 4-5 inches several times, and while the blue, red, and purple dyes I used were conditioning, the tips were finally starting to get yucky.

So now the longest parts go about down to my armpits. Some people consider that long, but you know, it won't get sat on.

What am I going to do with my ex-hair? About four years ago I came home from school late with an 18 inch braid dangling in my hands, and I informed my mother that I was sending it to Locks of Love. This time, I don't have a long, undamaged braid; I have multi-colored clippings. So I'm going to send my clippings to Matter of Trust.

Matter of Trust is a San Francisco-based company that uses hair clippings to clean up oil spills. I'd send it somewhere closer, but the San Fran company is the only one I know of. Hair does a good job of soaking up oil, as you'll know if you've ever been camping in a no-shower zone. The hair mats are biodegraded by fungi in the water, apparently, and they can make good compost. Only in San Francisco. Someday we won't have oil spills and I'll have to think of some other destination for my hair.

If you prefer to give business to your local hair salon instead of cutting your hair at home, you can still ask your stylist to send your hair to Matter of Trust. I'm excited to send my quart-sized bag full of hair to them.

Okay, excuse me, I need to go back to obsessing over my reflection and tossing my hair around like a ridiculously vain horse now.


A New Semester


This is Maura for those who are new, I am a sophomore English and Environmental Science and Policy double major.

There is so much to tell about this semester! We have moved back in, well... I actually discovered yesterday one of my roommates still has not unpacked, Susie it is the end of Febuary! The class has lost a few faces to study abroad programs and packed schedules, but we have gained a new addition too. WELCOME EZINNE!!!!!!!! It is very nice living with you, and I want the world to know...lol. Not only are the faces new, but EcoHouse's format has changed for this semester. Now some of us are doing semester long projects, and others are doing multiple small challenges.

We has a REALLY fun scavenger hunt last week which was the highlight of my Sunday! My group had such a silly time with one of the picture items to scavenge: pretend to sleep on a bus... there were no seats, so I am pretending to be asleep standing on a bus! Rachel conquered a fear on the Scavenge by getting on my back for a ride, she confessed that she is always scared the person is going to fall down. On a different team, Dave was so comitted to a win that he PURCHASED a cup! However, I bought a sandwich from the Co-op so I think it is safe to bet everyone gets caught up in the spirit of competition.

I think that the scavenger hunt represents the best of what EcoHouse has to offer a student. We had a really great time with eachother and we learned a lot about people that we may not have known before. There was also the presence of fun and positive "morals to the story" (or hunt) that underscored the event about sustainability and active participation in life. I am so grateful that I have had the oppertunity to meet and bond with the people that comprise EcoHouse. Rebecca deserves a lot of credit for making this Scavenger Hunt a sucess and for being an integral part of the spirit of EcoHouse. Rebecca not only has organized this event, but she also set up the EcoHouse Blog, and updates it far more regualarly than I. Without a doubt my EcoHouse experince would be far less rich had it not been for Rebecca. And she, for any potential EcoHousers out there, is just one member of this living and learning program. Imagine living with and interacting with dozens of like minded passionate students. That is why living in the EcoHouse is so amazing and why I am so privileged to be a member!

PS Rebecca I would love it if you posted the Scavenger Hunt list online in case anyone wants to re-create or relive the magic!


Winter greens

It's been a long time since the Greench stole Christmas, and I'm about ready for winter to be over. Pretty much every organism changes its behavior during the winter. People don't, and that's why I think 10% of the population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder or the winter blues. It wouldn't be so bad if we slowed down, hibernated, maybe shed our leaves or flew to Mexico. The deficient sunlight would still be a fact of life, but not as much of a disorder.

'Course, nobody's forcing me to be so productive. I'm a student. I'm paying them.

Anywho, if you wake up every morning cursing the cold and the sun in the southern sky, good news: Now is a good time to start planting for the spring. You can start seedlings indoors 4-8 weeks before the last winter frost. Read the instructions on the [organic] seed package to find out how much sunlight and water to give the seeds, how long to wait for them to sprout, and when to put them outside. The Ecohouse garden group is using old cardboard egg cartons as containers for our seedlings. Read more about starting plants indoors. The article has suggestions for types of soil to use - you can use compost, too.


And so it begins.

We've started recruiting new members for Ecohouse. This means that flyers with the EH website on them are being distributed all over campus, which in turn means that lots of people might be swinging by the blog soon. Yikes! I mean, Hi! Welcome!

Welcome to the Ecohouse blog.

My name is Rebecca. I walk an interesting line with this blog. I need to balance my impulse to make my college friends chuckle with some air of professionalism. If I get political, I try to present something debatable, not definite. I try to read the news but sometimes I get very busy making news, or not making the news being an unsung hero. (Oops, I just sung myself. So much for that.) When I leave Ecohouse in the spring, I hope this blog will be taken over by someone who loves to write, and feels confident doing so to a diverse demographic. I've leaned towards sharing my ponderings here, but I look forward to seeing what students will make of this blog in the future. If there's anything you'd like to see in this blog (or not like to see in this blog) in the mean time, drop me a comment!

Now I bring you our feature presentation: Top 10 Reasons to Join Ecohouse.

1. It's a great way to supplement your ENSP or other environment-related major with leadership and service experience.
2. For less environmentally oriented majors, Ecohouse is a chance to learn about environmental issues that you're interested in.
3. You can walk to campus, the metro, and the farmer's market.
4. You'll make friends. Oh yes, you will make friends. United by our interest in sustainability, we're still a pretty diverse group. Everybody can belong: tree-huggers, yes, but also Greek terps, students of all identities and persuasions, even English majors!
5. There's nothing like group support and/or peer pressure to get you into the habit of living sustainably.
6. You'll be in a program designed to help you make change on campus. Do you think the dorms should compost? Should there be more recycling at athletic events? In Ecohouse, you'll have the resources to start major projects.
7. Rare opportunities such as touring a nuclear power plant have been known to arise for Ecohouse students.
8. We compost, we have a garden, low-flow showerheads, and plenty of room for fresh ideas.
9. Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. What about them? You'll have to find out...
10. Ecohouse, like college, your relationship with the environment, and your Friday night, is what you make it.


Scavenger hunt!

Today, for a "team-building" activity, we did a scavenger hunt. We broke into teams to gather items and photos of things both eco-friendly and zany.

My team consisted of myself, Tory, and Dave. Our team name? "The winners." That's right. As Dave sprinted a mile down the Paint Branch Trail to borrow somebody's dog for a photo, I said to Tory, "Hey, we need to come up with a team name." We thought for a second and, in the same instant, said "The winners!" We'll see if it turns out to be so.

Why so confident? Well maybe it's the fact that we didn't only get a picture with a freshman; we got a picture with a freshman half-naked in bed at noon. There is a photo of me looking two feet tall in comparison to Dave, who is about 60 pounds heavier than me and receiving a piggyback. A female cop posed for us, giving him a high-five. We have a clear picture of Tory talking to the Jim Henson statue, even though Michelle's team tried to sabotage the photo by running in front of us. The Food Co-op kindly donated some coffee beans to our cause... ahem... So should I play the Queen now, or later? Weeee are the champions, my friends...

I was impressed to learn that Maura actually owns organic underwear, and tickled pink by Aaron's team bringing in a plant as their solar-powered object.

The overwhelming sentiment seemed to be, "I didn't expect that to be fun, but it was!" Which, uhh, was nice to hear since I brainstormed the whole activity. (But I put lots of stuff I didn't have on the list, so don't say I cheated!) I based it on a similar event that went down in my hometown during winter break. That scavenger hunt called for a plastic Santa, a picture of a team member getting arrested (no actual arrests took place - cops in our town get bored and gladly obliged by cuffing us), and a rubber chicken, among other things. Nobody found a rubber chicken, but the team that put a fried chicken wing in a condom won. This scavenger hunt was a tad more PC and eco-themed than the one back home, but hilarity ensued nonetheless.

Hopefully Maura will update us with her version of today's events.