Top 41 Sustainable Campus Ideas for Schools & Universities in 2017
With Earth Day quickly approaching, many of us are left with a feeling of “what can I do for the environment?” While there are a few commonly known practices, for the most part, it is relatively simple to maintain a “green” lifestyle; it is more just a matter of adjusting awareness and behavior. Every year, many students and faculty members are looking for ways to make an impact on the environment and go green at school with some great environmental sustainability projects.
To make it simple, we have compiled a list of some easy, yet impactful ways for students to make a difference on this Earth Day and all other days moving forward: 1. Take notes electronically – Instead of using paper notebooks and agendas, use your laptop to take notes and keep track of assignments and meetings. 7. Be smart about transportation – It is widely known that automobile emissions are a significant contributor to pollution. Offset this by biking or walking where possible, or take your campuses public transportation to classes. 2. Purchase reusable bags – Not only are these great for groceries, they can also be used to carry other classroom items and supplies. 8. Check your lighting – CFL or LED bulbs not only provide a better quality of light, but they also use less electricity. 3. Invest in one good water bottle – Stop buying and using plastic water bottles. Instead, find a nice, reusable bottle (can be found at any pharmacy) to refill throughout the day. If water quality is a problem, simply buy a filter for your sink, or a pitcher with a built-in water filter to keep in the refrigerator. 9. Only use what you need – So much power goes to waste when we leave lights and devices on when they are not in use. Be sure to flip the switch when you leave the room & unplug your devices when they are finished charging. 10. Use real dishes and towels – Plastic or paper cutlery, plates, and towels are wasteful. Buy a set of silverware and plates to use whenever possible and opt for dishtowels that can be reused instead of paper. 4. Recycle – One of the oldest tricks in the “sustainability book” is also one of the most effective. If your room or building does not have a bin available, request one from your school. 11. Make the most out of your laundry – Wash your clothes only when you have a full load, switch to cold water wherever possible and hang items to dry instead of using the dryer. 5. Compost – See if it is possible for your campus to provide a compost bin for food waste from the cafeteria. 12. Donate – Give all clothes you are not using to Goodwill, they will also accept furniture and other household items you don’t have use for after you move out. 6. Create a campus garden – Plant a garden to beautify your space, or use it to grow some of your own vegetables.
13. Buy green – Do your research on what products are green and good for the environment before you buy. Some products, such as laundry detergents and hair products, may have labels indicating they are made with environmentally safe, sustainable practices. Also be aware of what you are buying: aerosol sprays and products with microbeads, for example, are very bad for the environment. 14. Go digital – Opt out of receiving snail mail, opt in for email alerts instead. 15. Be an environmental bookworm – If possible; try not to buy new textbooks. Buy used, online versions (if available) or check the library to see if there is a copy you can use for reference. 20. Get involved – Join an environmental group, or if there isn’t one already, form one! Connect with your office of sustainability to see what practices are already in place on campus and see how you can help make an impact. Today, many universities offer a variety of sustainability “challenges” (for recycling, turning off lights, etc.) and subsequent rewards and reimbursements for participation. 16. Use less paper – If it is required for your classwork to be printed out, try reducing margins and spacing and print double sided. It may also be a good idea to ask your professor if you can submit your papers online instead. Contributions by Jennifer Seydel, Greenschoolsnationalnetwork.org: 17. Buy local – See if there are any farmers’ markets or thrift stores in your area to use in place of malls and supermarkets. Not only does it help offset carbon footprint, you will also find more unique purchases. 21. Avoid using straws 22. Use Compostables – Instead of buying paper plates and plastic cups, use compostables instead – Biodegradable eating and party items are much more eco-friendly. 18. Use less water – Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth and cut down on shower time as much as possible to conserve water. Contributions from Recyclebank.com: 19. Get educated – If you are really interested in environmental sustainability practices, consider pursuing a degree in the field so that you can help to educate others as well. Even if you don’t wish to make a career out of it, many schools offer minors or concentrations so you can learn more about it. 23. Reduce your consumption of meat – Meat production in America accounts for the creation of enormous amounts of the greenhouse gas Methane, which accelerates global warming. Try to go vegetable-forward in your meal choices, and save your meat eating for one or two days per week, or for weekends.
If you’re in the habit of eating meat regularly, and want to shift your habits, start small: Try your next burrito without chicken, or skip the pepperoni on your next pizza slice. All of our consumption habits collectively make a major impact on our environment. 27. Pack a lunch – Buying food at the campus food court or from food trucks often results in un-recyclable waste from packaging. Also, the expenses really add up over the course of a semester. Avoid this buy planning your meals ahead of time and bringing lunch to campus with you in reusable storage containers. Get nested containers that fit into one another to save space in your backpack. 24. Carry a thermos, and skip the daily throw-away coffee routine – Coffee cups are one of the most common single-use products in the world. Imagine how many people you see drinking coffee on their way to class every morning. Now imagine that’s happening every day on nearly every campus worldwide. Bringing your own thermos with you reduces waste and sets a good example for those around you to be more thoughtful about their consumption habits. Contributions by The Green Campus Initiative: 28. Buy new things/Replace old materials only when necessary – ostentatious living is rather a major problem to conservation. The want for more items which may not necessary be needed makes people acquire new things that end up as waste in no distant time. Repairing old or faulty items may help prevent this. We can cut down on our need to “show-off” our wealth. 25. Shop at thrift stores – Buying gently used clothes is the perfect way to keep your style fresh while conserving resources, not to mention preserving the funds in your wallet. Producing new clothes requires lots of energy and resources, such as water, and most clothes are made overseas, which creates an even greater carbon footprint. Buying used clothes from a local thrift store means you’re eliminating the need for all that resource use! 29. Use old/unused materials for other purposes – don’t just throw away stuff that are old just because they are old. Find other uses for them or gift them out to those in need. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. You can use old items as ornamentals within the house. You can even create your own mini museum of antiques. 26. Avoid fast fashion and buy Made In The USA – When you do buy clothes new, opt for quality items made in the USA, instead of buying cheaper options made overseas to meet the demand of the next short-lived trend. Save your money for a few quality pieces that will last, instead of continually buying cheaply made clothes that will turn into rags in less than a year. This saves money in the long run, and is better for our environment. 601 Davisville Road, Suite 210 Willow Grove, PA 19090 267.419.8496 30. Grow your food – creating simple vegetable gardens at your backyard will go a long way in cutting down money spent on groceries. With many farmers using chemicals, it also affords the opportunity to eat healthy email@example.com theconnectable.com
36. Schedule your errands – scheduling errands will reduce the amount of time you have to spend moving around. It will also help organize your trips into a chain of activities you will be able to achieve n less time. Lesser driving time means lesser emission. 37. Repair damaged water/plumbing pipes in homes – we need not waste water buy leaving damaged pipes unattended to in buildings. 38. Support green businesses – If you are really interested in going green, you should support sustainable businesses. Buy organic foods and eco-friendly materials. 31. Dispose waste properly – As simple as this is many people find it hard to drop their waste in the designated disposal sites. The sightings of plastics everywhere is an evidence of this. Burning off of waste is still commonplace as well. Right disposal of waste helps keep the environment clean and safe for all. 39. Keep a garden journal – keep the records of how you tend to plants in your garden, it will promote your understanding and love for nature. 32. Sort your waste – waste sorting makes it easy to recycle materials. It also makes you realize the materials you might want to cut budget on. 40. Visit conservation parks/sites – experiences in conserved areas teaches you new things that keep you in tune with nature. You can try this to gain inspiration for Biomimicry and nature photography. 33. Be conscious of nature – people get so busy everyday chasing a life without the thought of the earth. If the earth is gone where will you continue your daily hustle? 41. Stop being corrupt – corruption is the mother of all tragedy. If you can eliminate the corruption mindset then you would want to keep the earth pure. 34. Switch off all appliances when not in use – you don’t need an energy economist to tell you this. You get to conserve a lot of energy when you switch off unused light bulbs and electronics at home and in offices. 35. Create a shopping list before leaving home – this is a very simple way to avoid impulse buying and waste creation. This will also help maintain an optimum budget. It’s a good way to learn 601 Davisville Road, Suite 210 Willow Grove, PA 19090 267.419.8496 firstname.lastname@example.org theconnectable.com
There are many Universities that have emerged as leaders when it comes to eco-friendly campuses. The following universities have made a tremendous effort to Go Green with The ConnecTable: Here’s wishing you & your campus a happy & sustainable Earth Day! Have some more ideas for this list? Let us know and we may feature your suggestion. View our blog for new ideas, videos and more: http://theconnectable.com/green-campus-sustainability-ideas/ For more information on how you can help your campus “go green” with a ConnecTable solar table charging station, please contact us at email@example.com. • Universities • Corporate Campuses • Malls • Parks • Campgrounds • Resorts • 601 Davisville Road, Suite 210 Willow Grove, PA 19090 267.419.8496 firstname.lastname@example.org theconnectable.com