Take the Lead For Green – 10 Ways to be an Eco-Leader On Your Campus This Year

A new school year is a time of many changes, which makes it a perfect time to build new habits, get rid of old ones, and encourage those around us to do the same. There are many ways to be an environmental leader on campus, and some of theA most effective of them are easier than might be expected. From residence halls to recreation activities, most colleges and universities (even the eco-friendly ones) are full of opportunities for increased sustainability. Here are 10 ways that anyone– student, faculty, or campus liason – can help their campus “go green” in 2010-2011.

  1. Start a campaign to ban bottled water on campus. Not only will you help wildlife and the environment by reducing litter and the volume of plastics going to the landfills, but you will also protect yourself from the harmful chemicals found in cheap plastics.
  2. Petition the dining hall to stop using trays. Cutting out this one item helps reduce food and water waste tremendously.
  3. Take your laptop to class. You’ll actually learn more, as well as saving paper and trees. Also, laptops use about 50% less energy than desktops, so you’ll be helping reduce your carbon footprint there, too.
  4. Get a bike, or, if you’re already a pro at alternative transportation, form a biking group on campus to help new bikers learn the rules of the road and basic bike maintenance.
  5. Approach the Student Government about adding an Officer or Council for Campus Sustainability. One of the best ways to get the influence you’ll need to bring together large-scale change on campus is to build a strong coalition between students, faculty and staff.
  6. Talk to maintenance about the benefits of replacing standard lightbulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). The initial cost is higher, but in the long run a school will save thousands of dollars each year due to their dramatically lower energy use and long lifespans.
  7. Get a team together to help you create an entry for Chill Out 2010 Contest. Create a 2 minute video to highlight what your campus is doing to combat global warming, and you could win a $1,000 grant to help do even more!
  8. Switch to tea for those late-night study sessions, as opposed to coffee. For every cup you drink, you’ll save 25 gallons of water. (Coffee is much more water-intensive to grow.) Besides, some kinds of black tea have just as much caffeine if you really need the boost.
  9. Buy your books used, rent them, or get online versions. You can actually save hundreds of dollars a year on books that you won’t really need to keep after you’ve finished the course, as well as helping the environment. Be sure to resell them at the end of the semester, too!
  10. Talk to your campus environmental leaders about scheduling group discussions about climate change, sustainability, and other green topics. Consider using Campus Ecology webinars as a springboard for further discussion, or browse our other resources to research a topic of your own.