Going Green on Campus Has Never Been So Easy

Green is the new black. Just because you’re going away to college doesn’t mean unhealthy environmental habits have to come along with all your dorm decorations and mini fridge. Black clothing will look grand in your wardrobe, but surround your college life with green. Don’t decorate your entire room to look like Kermit the Frog. Instead, embrace the Go Green movement while adjusting to the dorm life. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s a way to make an impact.

Mean, Lean Recycling Machine

Crammed in a dorm room, recycling probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. Instead, there are midterms, intramural sports to sign up for, and dinner in the dining hall with friends from your floor. Even so, recycling is important and can easily be done in a dorm. Don’t overload your wastebasket with plastics and cardboard. Most dorms are equipped with recycling bins, usually near waste bins. Go on the hunt and locate the bins. When taking out the trash from your room, simply recycle your materials next to the trash cans. It only takes seconds of your time.

Rinse, Wash, Repeat

Having the munchies is inevitable. During late night studying, a snack of cookies and milk is tempting. Rushing before class, a bowl of cereal hits the spot. Instead of wasting paper plates and cups with your snacks, bring actual plates and cups from home. Not only will you never run out, but it’s easy to wash and it saves money. Keep a bottle of dish soap and a sponge in your shower caddy to wash your dishes in the bathroom sinks. If mom and dad don’t want you taking the good china, go to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Plates and cups are very inexpensive, and, often times, dishes full of fun phrases and artwork are waiting to be found.

Don’t Set Fire to the Rug! Unplug!

In today’s age, electronics and appliances are an essential in everyday life. Cell phones, laptops, and televisions are continuously plugged into the wall. Give your outlets a break and unplug your electronics and appliances when they’re not in use. This simple action saves an enormous amount of energy, because even when turned off, they use energy to remain on standby. When each device is needed again, it’s easy to plug back in. Not only does it save on electricity, but it prevents fire hazards, keeping all of your belongings safe. Also, leaving laptops plugged in too long destroys battery life. By unplugging the laptop and allowing it to run out of energy before plugging it back in, you save money you would have spent on a new battery. If all of your devices could talk, they’d say thank you for unplugging them. Everyone needs a rest once in a while.

Vroom, Vroom, Gas Gone In a Zoom

Cars are convenient. It makes grocery shopping a cinch without having to load all the bags onto a bus. Travelling home at a moment’s notice for a home cooked meal is not a problem. Driving to an internship later on in college is a no brainer. However, using a car around campus to get to classes and events in impractical and wasteful. Not only do you waste gas on treks easily accomplished with a pair of legs, a bike, or a bus, but it’s a difficult feat. Parking spaces are limited around campus, are usually far away from classrooms, and usually are accompanied by parking meters. That’s coinage that could be used in the laundry room. Go green and find more efficient ways around campus.

Water Doesn’t Grow On Trees

No one can live without water. It’s a daily necessity, which is why dorm rooms are often bombarded with crates of water bottles for on the go. When the water bottles aren’t always recycled, a lot of plastic is wasted. There are greener and much less expensive ways to quench your thirst! Bring reusable water bottles to campus. Refill them in the dining hall or drinking fountains. If you want easy access in your room, bring a water filtering pitcher or buy water by the gallon at your local grocery store for less than a dollar. If coffee is your addiction, use reusable coffee cups. Currently, Old Navy sells some for only $2 in their bargain section. It’s another simple way to save money.

Paper Makes Fractions Fun

For all of those who struggle with math, keep in mind that fractions can be your friend when helping the environment. Follow the example of the Planeteers Club at the University of Illinois and use halfsies. If you don’t need an entire napkin or paper towel, rip the paper product in half, leaving the other half for someone else to use. When in the bathroom, use air dryers instead of paper towels when available. It doesn’t take much time, and it keeps a bathroom looking cleaner without paper towels spilling out of the wastebasket. When you go in the bathroom to get ready for the day or for bed, bring a small hand towel with you. It’s a greener way to dry your face and hands than using paper towels all the time. Hug a tree and reduce the amount of paper products used in your life.

Going green is easy and efficient. With this trend continuing to grow, it’s a simple way to make an impact on the world. As college students, a common goal is to find a career that makes you happy and makes a difference. Along the path to your college diploma, make an impact by helping the environment. If you ever feel discouraged, listen to the catchy tune of Captain Planet to get you back in the green spirit.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.