Wellesley College Students Get Eco-Friendly
Wellesley College Students participated in an environmental event Sunday.
National grassroots organization Teens Turning Green is branching out, planting seeds of environmental awareness in the Wellesley community and perhaps even in financial markets with its third installment of its program “Project Green Dorm.”
Over 60 community members, vendors, Wellesley students, and college administrators Wellesley College students attended “Project Green Dorm,” an event which featured a panel, a resource-fair, and a raffle, in the Wellesley College campus center on Sunday.
Project Green Dorm is a project of Teens Turning Green, a national coalition of students working to educate and inform about how to live eco-friendly lifestyles. It was originally called Teens for Safe Cosmetics when it began in 2005, and transitioned to Project Green Dorm in 2008 to become a more encompassing movement.
Panelists, each of whom working to promote chemical and environmental awareness in various sectors of the market, from cosmetics to cell-phone use, educated attendees about a whole litany of health and environment-related issues.
They addressed sources of toxins and chemicals in day-to-day products like shaving cream, shampoo and chapstick.
“This has 33 chemicals in it,” expressed Judy Shils, executive director of Teens Turning Green, as she held up a bottle of name-brand body wash. Shils proceeded to explain how to carefully check ingredients in items.
Project Green Dorm has worked to make it easier to learn about ingredients in daily items through their “skin deep report,” pocket-sized handouts that detail the chemicals in specific name-brand products such as Blistex chapstick and Crest toothpaste that rate the products toxins on a scale of 1-10.
“Products with ratings of seven to 10 are high hazard,” said Shils. “They’re something you don’t want to use.”
Old Spice deodorant and Pantene Pro-V shampoo both received ratings of seven from the skin deep report system.
Panelists directed the audience toward using fragrances with essential oils, and pure ingredients as opposed to chemicals. They offered sparsely known tidbits, such as the chemicals used in heavy machinery are used in everyday lotions.
“Organic alternatives are becoming mainstream,” said Shils.
Shil’s observation may even point to a broader market-based transition toward eco-friendly products, which panelists indicated as they worked to address the concerns of high costs associated with organic lifestyles.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be cheaper for you in the long run,” said Amy Galper, founder of an organic body-care product business called Buddha Nose, of eco-friendly products.
Brands like Clorox, she said, market their items so that people use and buy more, but with healthier items, “you actually don’t use as much as you do with a bottle of Clorox.”
Shils suggested using a rag with vinegar and water to clean dorm rooms, as opposed to expensive wipes and chemicals.
“Kids don’t always listen to their moms, but they listen to friends,” said Shils, “if college students start to understand, kids will change.”
Holding true to the student-driven nature of Teens Turning Green, Wellesley Sophomores Hannah Gross, student member of national board of Teens Turning Green, and Alex Nagourney, organized Sundays event, which they have been planning for the past year.
The students were able to receive funding for the event through a $3, 000 grant they applied for through the office of disabilities at Wellesley College.
“We are hoping to get signatures and start our own club at Wellesley for more awareness,” said Gross.
Fortunately, it seems as though in Wellesley, Gross and Nagourney are not alone in their aspirations to perpetuate wide-scale use of environmentally friendly products.
Local businesses in Wellesley offered support for the event, whether through donating food or lending baskets to hold sample products.
“Wellesley is such a small community, so it’s easier to make a bigger impact. It’s not just about college, it’s about lifestyle in general,” said Hannah Gross.