Treehouse FAQ

What You Always Wanted to Know,
But Were Too Afraid to Ask

Is the Treehouse really in a tree?

We get this question a lot, especially from those who don't go to Dickinson.  The Treehouse is a sustainable house that is made from three town houses combined.  But no, the house isn't in a tree. That would be cool though.

How many people live in the house?

There are 14 residents who live in the Treehouse. We currently have 10 women and 4 males.

Do only environmental studies/science majors live at the Treehouse?

Not at all! Although the house does tend to attract ES majors, we have a variety of other majors as well.  We love having members with diverse majors, as it ads to the variety.  This also facilitates discussion about environmental issues, as treekids who are not in the ES department might have a different perspective.  As long as members of the house have an interest in living sustainably and being part of a community, it doesn't matter what major they are.

How can I live in the Treehouse?

There are usually spots open in the Treehouse every semester, as members go abroad or graduate.  Those interested in living in the house can fill out an application about their interests in sustainability.  Each applicant then goes through an interview process with all of the house members present.  Then, current Treehouse members decide based on consensus who would fit into the community and help accomplish the goals for the house.  If you don't get in the first time applying, try again!  There are plenty house members who have not gotten in their first time and have waited a semester or year before applying again and being able to join the house.

Do you really have to pedal a bike to power your TV?


First of all, the TV at the Treehouse is rarely on.  We only plug in the TV to watch big events together like the Super Bowl, Grammys, and election debates.  There is a bike-powered generator that can power the TV, or other lights or appliances in the house. This was built and maintained by Treekids. We are fun!

Do you really have to take three minute showers?

Yep, although there are many rumors flying around about our short showers.  Each treekid gets 3 minutes of water a day to shower.  This means you can be in the shower as long as you want, but the water can only be on for three minutes.  This isn't as hard as it sounds, since you don't need the water on to shampoo or condition your hair.  Also, we get roll over minutes.  So if a treekid decides to skip a day of showering, the next day they get 6 minutes of water to work with.  This is self-monitered and one of the things we always strive to stick to and get better at.  So no, the water doesn't shut off after three minutes, and no, there isn't a house member timing your water usage with a stop watch, and no, we don't only get three minutes of water per week.

Is it true that there's no electricity?

There is definitely electricity in the Treehouse, but we try to use as little as possible.  We use natural light during the day instead of turning on the overhead lights.  This is especially great for the common room, since we have huge south-facing windows and get a lot of sunlight every day.  We also try to study all together in common spaces at night to minimize the use of individual lights in our rooms.  We unplug all of our electronics from the wall when they're not in use, so no phantom electricity is wasted.  No one has personal TV's or mini fridges, so we all share two big fridges and one TV, also unplugged when not in use.  Instead of using a drier, we line dry all of our clothes which also saves a ton of electricity.  We don't use air conditioning and we keep the house at a cool 58 degrees during the winter.  Our three minute showers also cut down on the energy our water heater has to use.