Off to college: How about becoming a green student?
Going green has become fashionable in recent years, but it’s more than just a fad: conservation and green initiatives are now integral parts of many college campuses. Even if your college campus doesn’t participate in green initiatives, there steps you can take as an individual that will translate to real impact.
Don’t be a litterbug
Seems simple, right? But the amount of trash the average American produces in just one day is staggering: more than four pounds of solid waste, ranging from plastic eating utensils to office paper. You can reduce the amount of waste you produce by taking just a few simple steps: reusing paper for notes instead of throwing out half-printed sheets, bringing your lunch to campus in reusable containers instead of eating out of disposable containers, and setting your computer to save energy are just a few ways to reduce the amount of trash you produce every day.
Attend college online
Online education is becoming popular for many reasons, including schedule flexibility and convenience. But it’s also a great way to save money and to conserve energy: instead of driving to campus or taking public transportation, you can earn a degree from a quality university without attending face-to-face classes. You could even recruit some of your online classmates and create an online student conservation club, sharing ways to save energy and reduce your collective carbon footprint.
Start a campus community garden
Community gardening is another way for students to use campus resources to help others. Colleges all over the country are maintaining gardens as a way to help feed students on campus, as well as communities near their campuses. By learning how to grow and harvest food, students are giving each other lessons in sustainable farming practices, as well as how supporting local farmers can improve the local economy.
Make your home or dorm green
Your green efforts don’t have to stop once you go home or back to your dorm room. Simple practices like unplugging appliances you’re not using and turning off the lights when you leave a room can add up to noticeable savings on your energy bill each month. Spending less time in the shower, running your dishwasher and clothes washer only when they’re full, and recycling aquarium water to water your plants are just a few ways you can conserve water. And once you find a list of daily tips that work for you, share them with neighbors, roommates and classmates.
Going green and staying green can be tough. Old habits die hard, and remembering to take just a few of these steps every day will take practice. But making the change to live a green lifestyle impacts not just your own life but the lives of others and the overall health of the planet. Being a green student is just one of the important lessons you can learn during your college years and one of the best lessons to take with you once you graduate.