It may be hard to believe, but in just a few more weeks millions of college students will declare an end to the summer season by heading back to their university dorm rooms and apartments.
For any green minded student, now’s a great time to commit to adopting greener living habits going forward. Here are five easy ways for going green as you head back and hit the books:
1) Bring your reusable mug with you. Most college students I know can’t survive without their morning coffee, especially after an all-nighter. If you use a university dining hall, chances are they’ll have reusable mugs. If you rely on a local coffeehouse instead, then consider bringing your own mug for your morning java instead of throwing away large numbers of disposable cups that probably won’t be recycled.
2) Buy used books. Yes, maybe they have a bit of highlighted text from the last student, but buying used books not only saves you money but is also good for the environment. Every book re-used is one less book requiring new paper. This is a well-worn college tradition that makes a lot of sense.
3) Buy other used stuff. Is your dorm room kind of sparse? Do you need a new bicycle or computer? Consider using services like freecycle.org or Craigs List to buy (or get for free) things that other people no longer want but you can use. Again, relying on used things is not just great for the tight student budge, it also does wonders for the environment.
4) Walk. Most campuses are walkable. If you get in the car to make a five minute trip to get to class or the dining hall, that is not only wasteful but also a wasted opportunity for you to work off that friday night pizza and beer. Leave the car parked at home, plan ahead to arrive on time, and get that exercise!
5) Take a class about the environment or the environmental challenges we face. From recycling methods to algae fuel, from nanotechnology in solar panels to marine biology, there are many classes you could take that will teach you about the environment and the amazing work people are doing to clean it up. Saving our planet and solving humanity’s most vexing environmental problems are some of the most important and most pressing issues of our time. Who knows, you might become interested and passionate enough about something you learn to make a whole career out of it. How cool would it do something that helps save the world?
And here’s one last piece of advice, even though it’s not about the environment: enjoy your time in college. Even though it might seem like a drag, you’ll miss it once it’s gone. :)