The crest of Currier House shows a field of red, representing Harvard, surrounding a simple golden tree. Within their own communal “tree,” Currier residents have been “greening” the way they live. They are led by Eco REP (Resource Efficiency Program) Devon Newhouse ’13, the House point person for the Office for Sustainability, who fields energy-saving ideas from fellow housemates, and then institutes them.

One idea came from Currier resident Daniel Gross ’13, who suggested running a vegetarian/vegan challenge. About 20 students signed on and are trying to remain meat-free for a combined 200 days. Gross recently taught a vegan baking class in conjunction with the challenge.

Another student, Maggie Armato, revamped the “dishware drive” at Currier. The dining hall was spending $12,000 each year on dishware because students were leaving it in their rooms and sometimes throwing it in the trash. Armato suggested adding two collection days to a one-day drive and placing bins on every floor. She created posters to increase awareness. The result was immediate. Nearly every bin was full, and 15 times as many dishes were collected as in past drives.

When Alex Breinin noticed students throwing away paper and plastic cups during “brain break” dining hall after-hours, Newhouse sought new recycling bins that will be labeled more prominently. In addition, Currier’s open houses are now compostable events.

Some of the Eco Projects earn Currier points toward the coveted “Green Cup” for which the Houses are competing. Building Manager Manny Casillas has been helpful, said Newhouse, conserving resources by replacing more than 100 toilets with new dual-flush toilets, installing more than 100 motion light sensors, and replacing many incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps. He also has replaced old single-pane windows with double-pane ones.

Newhouse, who grew up in Southern California with its rolling blackouts and water shortages, came to Currier with a heightened awareness of the importance of sustainability. With that, she is creating an even greener Currier.

Greening of Currier House

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

  • No pane, no gain

    No pane, no gain

    As part of an effort to make Currier House greener, building manager Manny Casillas replaced old single pane windows in Daniels Hall with new double pane windows.

  • Light bulb memories

    Light bulb memories

    Casillas also replaced incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent in all custodial, mechanical, and storage closets.

  • Post-its of change

    Post-its of change

    Currier residents post ideas on a dining hall board set up by Devon Newhouse '13, who is the "Eco Rep" for Currier House.

  • So fresh and so clean

    So fresh and so clean

    Devon Newhouse '13 in the Currier House laundry room, where they host clothing swaps.

  • Lighting solutions by Manny

    Lighting solutions by Manny

    All over Currier House, Casillas replaces 40-50 incandescent lamps with LED lamps in a continued effort to be greener.

  • Dishin'


    Currier resident Maggie Armato designed this poster, based on Apple's ads, to remind her housemates to return their dirty dishes to the dining hall.