It can be rather difficult to be eco-friendly while going to college. For one, if you live in the dorms and eat the cafeteria food, chances are you use quite a bit of plastic wear, paper plates, and strofoam cups. One way to cut down on your impact is to use reusable dishes and cups. Collegestats.org complied a list of the top ten green universities in 2009. The winner, Oberlin College, uses renewable energy, has a ride share program, and gives priority to local food vendors. In 2008, the diplomas given to the graduates were printed on 100% recycled paper.
I know the community college here in Mesa, Arizona started a recycling program on campus. There are also environmental activists groups that do campus organizing to try and get more students involved in advocacy efforts. The cafeteria and coffee shops at MCC also try and have more food options available for those students who are vegetarian and vegan.
Temple University, located in Philadelphia, is always making new efforts to “go green.” The dining hall, for instance, switched from styrofoam cups to environmentally friendly drinking glasses in 2008. They also use silverware and glass plates and bowls. Additionally, the University allows students to recycle their graduation robes. Temple also uses 100% recycled material to make the graduates’ caps and gowns. The Office of Sustainability is always coming up with new ways to make the college experience at Temple more eco-friendly.
At UT, I know the cafeterias and little grocery shops on campus have biodegradable forks, spoons, and knives. There are also lots of recyclable bins located across campus. It’s a bit hard to be eco-friendly while in college, as someone else mentioned. However, there are some small ways to be eco-friendly – like choosing to eat at eco-friendly places like Chipotle (love that place). Also, choosing to take shorter showers to conserve water and shopping at Whole Foods is another way.
One of the biggest things that my university does for the environment is to encourage the use of bicycles rather than cars as a student’s primary form of transportation. The UC Davis campus is completely closed to cars except for certain vehicles with a special permit for delivering things or transporting temporarily injured students. Davis has several bicycle repair organizations in which the students are heavily involved. Getting a good bicycle that runs efficiently is very important when you want to use it for your primary mode of transportation. Just like cars, bicycles require maintenance to run smoothly. Many students get a rusty bicycle and don’t realize how much faster they can go if they get it tuned and oiled properly. Through organizations like the Bike Collective, UC Davis students help other UC Davis students realize how wonderful bicycling can be after they get out of college as well as while they are still in college.
For the past couple years, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard have had a friendly recycling competition to see who can recycle the most products in a school year. It’s called Recyclemania, I think, and the link in the citation is to a NY Times article about it.
Also, Princeton recently instituted a printing quota to limit the number of pages students can print on University printers. This has encouraged students to be more conscious of their use of paper.
Recyclemania is an annual competition between the recycling programs at various universities and colleges across the US and Canada. The objective is to increase recycling and awareness of waste reduction among the students, faculty, staff and community. It is a ten week competition, usually held around this time of the year. The number of schools has increased greatly over the years, so it is a really popular event among college students.
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