Knutzen Hall is known as the Eco Hall, so it is fitting Knutzen is also home to the Greenest Resident on campus.
“I’ve always had an environmental background, so this was a good fit,” said junior land use planning major Bailey Matthys. Matthys is in her second semester as Greenest Resident, with one to go.
Matthys was inspired by the former Greenest Resident while living in Knutzen her freshman year. When the position opened up, she successfully applied.
The Greenest Resident is just like any other Residential Living employee; Matthys has desk hours, occasionally does rounds and attends hall meetings.
Her additional duties include giving tours of the room, putting on environmentally focused programs, and advising the EARTH club. The EARTH club encourages students to make minor lifestyle changes that culminate in a healthy lifestyle, and is best known for Knutstock, the yearly music festival.
While environmental advocacy is often tied to large-scale problems and solutions, Matthys’ personal focus was on everyday lifestyle changes.
“People think it will be hard. It’s not, you just have to take baby steps,” said Matthys.
Hanging clothes to dry, unplugging electronics, thrifting, and setting up an aquaponics system are all things Matthys does to reduce her impact.
Nearby residents have taught Matthys as well, and the position has been a learning experience. Zach Kehoc, Matthys’ neighbor, has helped her with the aquaponics.
Kehoc had previously built a 400 gallon aquaponics system during high school and used his expertise to help.
Toxic chemicals are prevalent in many personal care products, so Matthys has been experimenting with making some of her own. She makes her own deodorant and occasionally shampoo, but buys the trickier items at the Co-Op.
“Another reason why people have been switching to environmentally friendly lifestyles is for their own health,” said Matthys “On my last tour, two moms came in to learn about it. It was great to see there was a community interest.”