For many people, college encompasses the most important steps to a lifetime of work, political outlooks, creativity, and thinking about the world as a whole. It all begins in college and carries over into our careers and families. Finding and using sustainable resources is one of the key factors in being eco-friendly. Everything learned about sustainability in college can also be directly transferred to life after college.
Of course, as a student of higher learning, you know that the best time to start forming good habits is now. Each of the sustainable resources mentioned below can be employed into college life to make you, and those around you, aware of the possibilities out there to help improve your experience and gear you towards success.
1. It All Starts with You
You are the most important sustainable resource; not only in college, but also on the planet. When you take the initiative, you are consciously setting an example to others. Whether that means something like using energy efficient lighting, taking 3 minute showers to conserve water and energy, or using a separate trash bucket for recyclables, you are setting an example of sustainability. In all respects, from top to bottom, you are the most important decision maker in using sustainable resources.
2. eTextbooks and eResources
In this new age of modern computers and mobile devices, textbooks can be accessed on a Kindle and several other electronic readers. Paper books are not only bulky and heavy but can also get very pricy. eTextbooks and other eResources can save you serious money and the extra strain on your back. Even better, there is no paper waste to worry about. These are some of the reasons why eTextbooks are a perfect resource for your college education and the environment. Making the switch over to electronic resources is one of the most sustainable and affordable options there is.
Getting from class to class, or from your apartment to campus, consumes energy in some form or another. Of course, the best sustainable resource is walking or biking, but they aren’t the only ones. Free bicycle initiatives will allow you to use a bike for free, as long as you bring it back when you are finished. Commuting with a friend or taking public transportation can also be a way to help cut down on pollution; especially if the vehicles are being powered by bio-fuels. Plus, these modes of transportation will let you off where you need to go, and there won’t be any parking hassles either. It’s a win-win situation in every way.
4. Eco-Friendly Food
Many college campuses now feature eco-friendly food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are being purchased from local farmers and co-ops and this sustainable resource helps both college students and faculty save money while doing something great for the community. Providing these dietary options helps locals with needed income, lowers food transportation costs and gives the students an opportunity to eat locally grown, and in many cases, organic food that would otherwise not be available.
We all know the importance in recycling bottles and plastics. And while both of these are good practices, there are other ways to recycle as well. You may have to think outside of the box with this because recycling can affect your life in many different ways.
Instead of taking water bottles to class and recycling them after each use, try replacing them with a steel or aluminum container and simply refill when needed. Not only will you save money by doing this, you’ll also save the petroleum used to manufacture plastic.
Thrift stores are another way to recycle. They have terrific selections of recycled clothing, and (believe it or not) some of the hottest college styles began at the neighborhood thrift store.
6. Getting Involved
As with all college curriculum, getting involved is the best thing you can do. On virtually every college campus, there are classes, clubs and even informal groups where you can learn about sustainability, not only in college, but in every walk of life. But you can’t learn about it if you don’t get involved.
While these tips are all very beneficial to improving your college experience and the environment, there are hundreds, if not millions, of more ideas out there. Do you know of more sustainable resources for college students that you would like to share? Please add your ideas in the comments below.