College students are known to play dirty when it comes to washing bedsheets. They either ignore the layer of filth building on their beds until a concerned mother steps in or the semester comes to an end.
Well, according to The Boston Globe, two concerned college moms' latest entrepreneurial venture will help students to clean up their acts by switching out regular linens for disposable ones made from Eucalyptus trees. The mothers say they're the first to use this kind of linen, known as Tencel, to develop their compostable bedsheets. Other trading companies appearing on Alibaba.com also sell biodegradable linens, but it is unclear if they use Tencel in their bedding designs.
Mothers and businesswomen Kirsten Lambert and Joan Ripple call their startup Beantown Beddings, and their biodegradable bedsheets are called "BedSox," (the mothers are from Hingham, Mass., and the company's and product's names seem to be winks to Hingham's close proximity to Boston and its Red Sox baseball team).
In Lambert and Ripples views, a major selling point for BedSox is its environmental advantages - they're compostable and therefore, they make for less waste in landfills.
However, Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner's interviews with the Environmental Protection Agency and Heather Henriksen, director of the office of sustainability at Harvard University, counters the argument the Tencel sheets are truly more earth-friendly. Both interviews pointed out BedSox's production requires nearly four times as much water than is used by students who regularly wash their bedsheets. Plus, traditional bedsheets outlast BedSox's estimated one-month lifespan.
Despite shaky assertions about the sheets' climate benefits, Kirsner, who slept with a pillowcase made of Tencel, says he can "see the allure" of BedSox for college students who never wash their bedsheets.
BedSox are just one of the many innovative ways college students can make their dorm rooms more sustainable.
Products like the P&P Office Waste Processor turn common student paper waste into the commonly needed school supply: pencils. According to inhabitat.com, a website covering technological advances in sustainability, the machine creates pencils out of scrap paper with the push of a button.
Colleges are also pushing students toward greater sustainability efforts.
Since 2010 Duke University’s prospective students have been shown a 'green dorm.' The dorm features a number of lifestyle items – from power-saving electronics to organic bed and pillow sets – exemplifying how students can purchase sustainable products over energy-wasting dorm decor.
On its website, Boston University offers similar eco-friendly advice for prospective students looking to furnish and stock their dorm rooms.
The Oldest Dorm
The College of William & Mary was established in 1693, making it one of the oldest universities in America. <a href="http://www.wm.edu/about/history/historiccampus/wrenbuilding/index.php" target="_hplink">The Wren Building</a>, built between 1695 to 1700, was the first building to be constructed and housed the master and the president. The students did not live on campus until 1723, when Brafferton Hall dormitory was built. (Photo credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wren_1859_william_and_mary.jpg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a>)
The Founding Fathers' Dorm
According to legend, Founding Fathers John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry and James Otis were all residents of Harvard University's Massachusetts Hall. The building, which still survives today, was <a href="http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/10/the-newest-live-in-the-oldest/" target="_hplink">built in 1720</a> and was designed to house the growing student population. Today the president's office is located on the first floor, while the fourth floor houses freshmen.
First Women's Dorms
Historically, universities in America were separated by gender. Women's colleges were created to educate women. Wellesley College, which boosts of alumnae such as Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton, is just one example.
African American Dorms
Similar to women, African Americans were forced into separate living quarters in colleges. One example is Penn State, which had an unofficial housing policy until 1946 banning African Americans from living in white students' dorms. The university actually created a specific dorm for those few African American students called <a href="http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2012/04/23/ceremony_honors_first_black_dorm_on_campus.aspx" target="_hplink">Lincoln Hall.</a> From the 1930s until the 1950s, the dorm housed about eight black male students.
The 70s saw a new wave of dormitory architecture. These unfortunate dorms, which are still widely used today, are identifiable by their cinderblock wall interior and harsh exteriors. (Photo credit: ISU Housing)
Greek Life Dorms
Greek life has existed on college campuses since <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/greek_life/glhistory.xhtml" target="_hplink">1750s</a>, and the sorority and fraternity houses often provided alternative dorm options for the members. This living situation is known to have some drawbacks though, as greek life has a reputation for revelry.
Though dorms have advanced -- they are co-ed and integrated -- most college freshmen still live in a double shared with a person of the same gender. While the rooms are often not impressive, students experience more perks as they gain seniority, such as suites or apartments.
Today some dorms have become so luxurious that they resemble high-tech hotel rooms. Unsurprisingly, MIT is included on that list.
Scripps College takes advantage of its sunny California location, giving its all-female student body fairy tale dorms. The college is listed on <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/01/most-beautiful-campus-lifestyle-college.html" target="_hplink">Forbes</a> as one of the most beautiful campuses.
Though there are many competitors, the University of California Irvine might win for most luxurious dorms. The Vista Del Campo dorm even advertises a <a href="http://www.housing.uci.edu/photo/album.asp?album=39" target="_hplink">"resort style swimming pool, jacuzzi, movie theater, game room, fitness center, and computer lab.</a>" (Photo credit: UC Irvine Housing)