Sustainability House Seeking Roommates for Winter Term

by Hannah Larsen

The Sustainability House is a little-known residential area on Transylvania University’s campus; its residents, however, are looking for new housemates. Both men and women live in the house, which is located on Upper Street. The house is equipped with two floors (women living upstairs and men living downstairs), a full kitchen and a family room where the occupants recently made a blanket fort.

Interested students should be prepared to live sustainably. The heat and air conditioning are only used if absolutely necessary in the house. Also, dishes are typically washed by hand in order to save water instead of being put into the dish washer. There is a laundry line in the yard for clothes to dry on when the weather is nice. Lights are only turned on when it’s dark. The occupants usually carpool to the grocery store and other places together, and the food they eat is usually locally grown or organic.

There are nine students living in the Sustainability House at the moment: juniors Austyn Gaffney, Melanie Gruen and Julia Peckinpaugh along with sophomores Leslie Bartley, Daniel Smith, Paul Brown, Amanda Chrouser, Eric Kaper and Molly Dean.

According to Gaffney, “The Fellowship” of the Sustainability House is looking for five new occupants, two men and three women. Students interested in filling these openings should be community-oriented, want to become sustainable or learn more about sustainability, be open to new people and want to gain new experiences.

“A lot of us didn’t even know each other before this semester,” Brown said, “but we’re like a big family. We just try to raise awareness with each other.”

The house is bustling with activity a lot of the time.

“(The house is) always alive with music and theatrics. We like to burst into spontaneous musicals sometimes,” Brown said.

The members living in the house enjoy having visitors to their home so they can teach them about their sustainable ways.

“The social aspect of the house is very important. The main point of sustainability is to have a strong social network,” Gaffney said. “We like to have people over for dinner.”

The residents of the house are all very active in campus activities and sustainable events off-campus. Brown was the lead in “The Bakkhai,” a rock opera that Transy showed for the past two weekends. Smith and Kaper host “The Philosopher’s Café” on Fridays from 8 to 10 p.m. on WTLX, Transy’s radio station. Recently, the members of the household volunteered to help get rid of an invasive plant species found at Wolf Run Creek. They also have “family” hikes and attend community events together.

While the house and its members are not fully affiliated with the Transylvania Environmental Rights and Responsibilities Alliance (TERRA), they interact with each other and some of the residents are members of the group. TERRA is meeting at the Sustainability House at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, to talk about what they have accomplished thus far and at 5:30 are walking to the Lexington Public Library to view “Deep Down” at 6. All students are encouraged to attend the movie, which shines light on coal mining in Kentucky.

If interested in becoming a resident of the Sustainability House for winter term you can get more information by e-mailing Austyn Gaffney ( or Paul Brown (


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