The Green College Experience

notebookColleges across the nation are making an effort to go green in an attempt to help the environment. One of the most obvious ways colleges can help is by encouraging students to recycle. Recyclemania is a friendly competition between colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. For 8 weeks each spring, students work to reduce waste and to increase recycling. In the 2011 competition, California State University-San Marcos was named the Grand Champion.
What are some other ways colleges are helping the environment?
The following list is by no means exhaustive but does give a general idea of what schools are doing and some of the schools that do it consistently.
  • Encouraging students to turn off unneeded lights. Cornell University has a program called Lights Off! that aims to reduce the amount of wasted electricity on that campus.
  • Providing recycling cans in dorm rooms. (Princeton University)
  • Providing local and organic food in dining halls (Dickinson College)
  • Rewarding commuters who carpool with a discount on parking permits (University of Maryland-College Park and University of Virginia)
  • Building green buildings based on LEED standards (Yale University and Duke University)
  • Supporting environmental student groups (Hendrix College)
  • Providing green themed housing (University of California-Berkeley and University of Alaska-Fairbanks)

These are just some of the ways colleges are going green. The Green Report Card lists even more ways that schools are helping and even grades over 300 colleges and universities based on their eco-friendly policies.
There are also many, many things college students can do on their own to help the environment. There’s no need to wait for the university to enact a policy. Here’s a list of just 7 easy things college students (and people in general) can do to help the environment:

  • Recycle!
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use, particularly during school breaks
  • Take classes in environmental studies
  • Use re-usable grocery bags when shopping
  • Buy locally and eat organically when possible
  • Conserve paper
  • Walk to places that are close by instead of driving

Living in an environmentally friendly way can be easy and fun! See environmental groups on your college campus to learn about even more ways you can help the evironment.

(Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/midnightglory/2328251324/sizes/l/in/photostream/ )

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