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Ways to Stay Green as a College Student

“Going green” is a trending topic across the country. With so many environmental issues, such as climate change, it is considered fashionable and profitable to use this term in the headlines.

While this is the case, some people don’t fully understand what “going green” really means. It’s worth noting that going green and sustainability go hand in hand. Sustainability is all about being mindful of what you do every day, how these actions impact the environment, and what you can do to improve your personal impact.  

A good place to start is with education. For example, do you know what human activity uses the most water or electricity? If not, now is a good time to find out. It’s also a good time to find out the small steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. This is important for everyone, but some tips for college students to “go green” can be found below.

Share, Borrow, or Rent a Bike

Bikeshare programs (especially in college towns) are becoming more prevalent. You can research the topic to find out if your school has one. If they don’t, there could be another local option to use. College students can also take action to create a bikeshare initiative.

Riding a bike is going to help reduce carbon emissions and keep riders fit and healthy. Bikeshare programs are practical and give students an option to get to and from classes without harming the environment.

Pay Attention to Bags and Packaging

Consider just saying no to bags when you go to the grocery store or anywhere else. You can bring your own bag or avoid taking a bag altogether. You should also try to purchase products that don’t have as much packaging, which means less material and trash that will go to the landfills and cause methane or other pollutants.


The average student brings around five electronic devices to school with them every day. Taking time to unplug these devices is a good habit to get into. Some college campuses now sponsor “power down” times during the day and night. During these periods, students are encouraged to reduce their total energy usage. Some dorms even have sustainability challenges that go on for several weeks or entire semesters.

Use LED Lamps

LED bulbs are not only more cost-effective than CFL or incandescent bulbs. They also last longer, quite a bit longer. These bulbs are also made to be durable. Most students can purchase an LED bulb for their desk lamp and have it last all four years.

Recycle and Compost

Recycling is considered a “gateway” behavior for improved sustainability. When students recycle, they are forced to consider where they put their trash. This isn’t something that comes naturally for most people. Most universities and colleges have a recycling program already in place on their campus. However, not all recycling programs are the same. Some require you to sort everything before sending it to the recycling bin. Also, if a university has a multi-site campus or bigger campuses, more than one program may be used. This is why you should take time to check things out to find out what can be recycled and then find the program that best suits your needs.

Another green initiative is to compost. This is something else that is catching on, on different college campuses. Take some time to see if your college has a garden and compost pile or if there are options for you to compost on your own.

Going Green at College

As you can see, there are several options and ways you can go green while at college. Keep the tips and information here in mind to make a difference and do something beneficial for the environment. These steps are going to be beneficial on small and large scales. Being informed is the best way to know how you can live a green lifestyle while in college. 

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