Yale Facilities have provided permanent furniture in the common rooms of Bingham Hall and Lanman-Wright Hall dormitories, which collectively house Berkeley, Calhoun, Pierson, and Trumbull College freshmen. This is in a bid to save students money and reduce the amount of furniture that is discarded each spring. This initiative is a big step forward for sustainability on campus.
Last year, Spring Salvage, a waste diversion program for undergraduate move-out, collected over 14 tons of unwanted furniture. Although the items collected are donated to Goodwill Industries, reducing the amount of materials that come onto campus in the first place can save both time and resources, and encourage sustainable habits.
This step also takes into account sustainable features and the well-being of building occupants. The furniture is made with recycled leather, and is PVC-free. All the wood in the furniture is GREENGUARD certified, which indicates that it meets rigorous chemical emission standards reducing harmful off gassing. Cleaner air means healthier breathing.
Students also played a key role in the positive outcome of the project. While the program has been in the works for a number of years, the pieces finally came together this summer. The final step was deciding which buildings to furnish first. At the residential colleges, furniture can be kept on site as upperclassmen have options to store individual furniture in their suites, and there is a system where graduating students can leave furniture for their residential college classmates.
Furnishing Bingham and Lanman-Wright Halls is the first phase of a three year project to provide furniture in all dormitory common rooms on Old Campus by summer 2018. The University will also provide common room furniture to the two new residential colleges, expected to open in 2017.