Ashley Ugarte is a junior at Rice and the President of the Teens Turning Green Youth Advisory Board Houston. She’s preparing to launch a project to educate fellow students about what it takes to live a greener lifestyle on campus.
“The Project Green Dorm is kind of our initial phase that we are launching for students to really work with their own space. So, it’s really being conscious about bedding, being conscious about ‘Oh, there’s organic cotton choices’, and making those little choices every single day whether what we eat, what we choose to decorate our room with … it’s just really kind of focused on you.”
Teens Turning Green is a nonprofit organization that works with high school and college students around the world.
Recently, the Rice student hosted a Project Green Dorm pre-launch event that showcased a display of sustainable brands, eco-friendly product samplings, and even a Green Dorm checklist.
So, what is the first step in the process of ‘greening’ a room?
“The main focus for me is your bed. That’s where you start instantly because when you’re sleeping you’re instantly exposed to whatever is touching your body.”
Ugarte says Rice and its Sustainability Program have supported the Teens Turning Green project and have collaborated with the organization to educate its students about the green programs.
Craig Stowers, a father of a teenage son, browsed the pre-launch event. He thinks the project could inspire teens to turn green.
“Just seeing some of the products that are used and some of their impact they have on them [teens] and their environment as opposed to some things they can use and the lesser impact or lesser footprint their going to leave should be impactful. I think they’ve been desensitized a lot of things, but I think if they see it, I think they can make an informed decision based on that.”
As a way to help students to create a greener society, Teens Turning Green will debut its third annual 30-day eco-lifestyle competition Project Green Challenge on October 1st. High school and college students around the world are invited to sign up.
Ugarte believes students have the potential to create a sustainable future.
“They [students] just got to get mobilized and got to speak up. They have voices and they have the power to really make sustainable changes."
You can find more information on Teens Turning Green at teensturninggreen.org