Cal Poly co-op thinks green

Posted March 30, 2007

Cal Poly Pomona has taken its concern for the environment and its well-being to another level by providing students and alumni with the opportunity to live in an environmentally friendly community.

The Regenerative Cooperative of Pomona, also known as the Regen, located north of downtown Pomona, was founded in 1999 by graduates of Cal Poly Pomona’s Center for Regenerative Studies to promote community-friendly environmentally-oriented housing.

The communal boarding house strives to incorporate sustainable and regenerative principles into the everyday lives of students and alumni.

There are currently 16 students and alumni living in the community between the ages of 20 and 40. The co-op consists of two buildings, each equipped with solar panels and gray water ponds. The residents maintain edible landscape and organic gardens, which produce some of the vegan vegetarian meals that are consumed at the co-op.

“It is a reasonable and responsible way of living,” Meric Lau, a Regen resident of one and a half years, said.

The Regen functions like one huge family where residents are required to eat dinner together five nights a week, cook, clean and perform specific chores.

The co-op credits the consensus model and non-violent communication for the compromise and cooperation in the community.

The consensus model states that no decision can be made in the co-op without everyone agreeing upon it. And non-violent communication encourages people to talk about issues and concerns rather than attacking individuals. With these, and no sibling or parental rivalry, the community functions quite smoothly.

The Regen residents commute by means of public transportation, bicycles, walking or one of the three communal electric cars provided for them.

After a fall-out with one of the owners, the Regen currently has no mission statement but it does have common morals and concerns for the environment.

“All are aware about the environment and the impact they have on it,” Lau said.

“There is a common concern for (global warming),” Olympia Tveter, a Regen resident of two and a half years, said.

Residents hope to regain their cohesion and resume “sustainability seminars” with workshops and speakers as well as the “Food Not Bombs” movement which provides vegetarian meals to the homeless.

“It would be beneficial if La Verne had similar programs,” Alyse Beni, a sophomore psychology major said.

Cal Poly Pomona has set the bar high for other colleges and communities to take action and start giving back to the environment. It is time for people to give more than they take from the environment and an eco-friendly community is a great way to start.

Madison Steff can be reached at msteff@ulv.edu.

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