Green Campus

Ten ways to be Green in College Dorms and life on or off the College Campus

What ecofriendly things can a college student do to help the environment? More than you might think, actually. The typical college student's lifestyle can lead to quite a bit of waste, especially paper, so small steps to conserve and recycle can really add up! Here are some environmentally friendly tips for a greener college life.

  1. Recycle everything, especially paper! Think about how many pieces of paper you go through in a semester. There's your class notes, your scrap copies, your term papers, your daily school newspapers, and assorted stuff that you've printed out from the Internet... it all adds up. Look for a paper recycle bin on campus-- you might find one near a dormitory or large classroom building. And recycle other items as well, including cans, bottles, and cardboard boxes.
  2. Use your printer wisely. You can save paper by printing on both sides of the page. Many professors don't mind if you turn in a paper like this-- just ask first. Save pages that you've printed and use the backs to print out drafts and other things you don't have to turn in. In addition, many printers have multiple settings for print quality. Use the high quality print setting for things that have to look nice, but use the low quality setting for things that don't. This will save ink. While you're at, consider cutting down on the things your print out. Do you really need to print out that web page, or can you just bookmark it?
  3. Limit the use of disposable cups and plates. If you're moving into your first off-campus apartment, it can be tempting to buy disposable cups and plates to save time. This adds up to a lot of waste and money. Buy yourself some inexpensive plates and wash them. You can do this if you live in a dorm room too. Many dorms have a kitchen, and if yours doesn't, wash dishes in the bathroom sink.
  4. Limit the use of paper napkins. Since college students eat a good deal of fast food, napkin use can add up. It's good that you want to be clean, but one napkin will probably do the trick!
  5. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs cost more, but they last longer and ultimately save you money. If you live in a dorm, get yourself a lamp and screw in one of these bulbs. Lamp light is much more pleasant and environmentally efficient than overhead dorm lighting.
  6. Walk, bike, and limit your use of a car. Most campuses are very pedestrian friendly, and many college towns offer good public transportation and bike paths. Ask yourself if you really need a car as a college student, because if you can get by without one, you can save a good deal of money on gas, repairs, and overpriced student car insurance. If you do own a car, try to use it as little as you can.
  7. Buy green. Buy recycled products whenever you can, especially paper. Buy environmentally safe cleaning products as well. Some of these products cost more-- but many don't, or the price difference is negligible.
  8. Carry a water bottle. Think of how many bottles of water get consumed on a campus every day. Save waste and money and carry a refillable bottle. If the tap water on your campus is questionable, buy large containers of waters to refill your bottle.
  9. Use refillable binders instead of notebooks. This is a simple way to save waste. If you want to save your notes after the semester is over, take them out of the binder and staple them. Or you can go electronic and take all of your notes on a laptop.
  10. Buy used clothing. Lots of students do this to save money, but it's also a great thing to do for the environment. Reusing clothes decreases the use of resources to make clothing and puts a dent in the problem of worldwide sweatshops.
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