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Going Green On Campus Is Easier Than You Thought

August 8, 2014

With the costs of college, going green might be one of the easiest and most responsible ways to save money. College is a time for figuring out what you want to do and who you want to be, and it can also be a time to think about how you impact the environment. There are hundreds of ways to reduce your impact on the environment in your dorm room, and oftentimes these ways save you more money than making choices that aren’t eco-friendly. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of eight simple ways to lead an environmentally responsible lifestyle on campus. 

8 Tips For Going Green

  1. Don’t be afraid to buy secondhand. Going green can actually be a college student’s best option, not just for the positive environmental impact, but for their budget as well. Buying clothing, furniture, dishes, etc. from local thrift stores will save you a significant amount of money! Plus if you buy furniture in the town you’re going to school in, rather than hauling it from your hometown, you save on transportation costs and emissions – a lighter load in the car will get you better mileage. Go a step further and buy sturdy furniture that will last through your dorm years and beyond.

  2. Use a reusable coffee mug. With a late night and an early class, who wouldn’t take advantage of that coffee shop on campus? You might not be able to function without caffeine, but you can survive without using a disposable paper cup and plastic lid every day. Lots of companies, and probably your campus gift shop too, sell great reusable travel mugs. If you don’t like using plastic containers, some stores even sell ceramic travel mugs that will be just like drinking out of a mug at home.  

  3. Use other reusable items. Just like using a travel mug, you can make a big difference by avoiding paper plates and napkins. As an alternative to this, buy nice reusable dishes, silverware, a reusable water bottle and fabric shopping bags. You will also save waste by avoiding individually packaged snacks.

  4. Think twice before printing. With syllabi, tests, handouts and articles for research papers, a lot of paper is used on campus. If you have to have citations from three different 30-page articles for a research paper, don’t print out every page of every article. Printing might be nice for the purpose of taking notes and highlighting the important stuff, but notes and highlighting can be done with a program on the computer. Plus, more and more schools are adopting electronic drop boxes for assignments and paper drafts, so save the printing for your final draft if you can.

  5. Be conscious of your habits. You might not be the one paying off the dorm building’s utility bill each month, but your choices in the dorm still make a huge difference to the planet. Taking shorter showers, utilizing the campus recycling system, and buying Energy Star rated appliances (and laptops) will all help reduce your impact on the environment.

  6. Start a recycling program if there isn’t one. If your college doesn’t recycle, consider working with one of the offices on campus to start one. Not only will this benefit the environment and everyone on campus, creating a campus-wide program will also be an excellent thing to put on your resume.

  7. Don’t drive to campus if you can get there another way. Although some students have no choice but to commute a long distance to campus by car, many have alternative options. If you live in a dorm that’s quite a distance from your class, consider biking, utilizing any available form of public transportation, or even walking to get some extra exercise. Getting to class in an alternative way may take a little longer, but this small change makes a big difference.

  8. Ditch your old car. You may even find that you love traveling by public transport, or that the exercise from walking or biking is something you can’t do without. If that’s the case, why not save yourself some more money by getting rid of your car expenses. Getting rid of your car by donating it to Wheels For Wishes, benefiting Make-A-Wish, is a great option for college students. We take care of all the details, and in return you will save money by no longer having to budget for oil changes, unplanned repairs, insurance, fuel, parking passes and registration fees. The benefits of donating your car don’t stop there. When your car is auctioned or recycled, the proceeds go to your local chapter of Make-A-Wish, helping them to grant wishes that bring hope, strength and joy to children who are facing critical illnesses. Donate today by calling 1-855-278-9474 or filling out an easy online donation form.

Share Your Eco-Friendly Tips

If you have environmentally-friendly dorm living tips that we didn’t catch on our list, we’d love to hear them! Feel free to share your ideas on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ pages, and have a great time starting a new path at college! 

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Wheels for Wishes benefiting Make-A-Wish®, Wheels for Wishes & Wellness benefiting local children's hospitals and charities, Vehicles for Veterans benefiting disabled veterans, and Animal Car Donation benefiting animal rescue organizations.

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