16 Ways College Students Can Go Green

16 Ways College Students Can Go Green

Besides Recycling.

With Earth Day this upcoming Sunday now is a great time to reflect on our relationship with mother Earth. As college students, it can be hard to think of ways that we can go green that are affordable and are within our control.

Going green not only can help save the environment but can also help save you green ($). So here are some choices you can make a habit in your college life to be more eco-friendly and potentially save money:

1. Use reusable grocery bags.

Americans throw away over 100 billion plastic grocery bags every year. (Don’t Be Trashy, Reduce Your Waste!) To help combat this, you can take your own reusable bags with you to the grocery store. In addition to reducing the use of plastic, I like to use the reusable bags because they are stronger and help me to limit my shopping habits because I only buy what will fit in the bags.

2. Create a shopping list before leaving home so you avoid the impulse to buy more than you need (and to stay in budget).

3. Buy in bulk to save money and reduce packaging needs.

4. To save your wallet and the environment, use a refillable water bottle instead of bottled water.

If you don’t like drinking straight tap water, consider investing in a water pitcher with filters.

5. Brew coffee at home and use a refillable mug.

But if you bring your coffee mug with you, you can even ask many of your favorite coffee shops to put your coffee in your mug instead of a paper cup!

6. Use a reusable bag and reusable containers like Tupperware to pack your lunch instead of plastic or paper bags.

7. Don't use plastic straws.

Plastic straws are in the top ten of litter items found on International Coastal Cleanup Day. Check out the Last Plastic Straw movement to learn more about how plastic straws harm the environment, especially our oceans!

8. Buy locally grown food.

You can help support farmers and the local economy by buying locally grown food that is usually more fresh and cheaper! By limiting the distance needed to transport food, less fuel is used so you can also help to cut down on greenhouse gases.

9. Go meatless on Mondays.

Since the meat industry emits ⅕ of all greenhouse gases, then reducing the demand for meat will also reduce the production of these gases.

10. Go paperless!

Try having all of your bills and receipts sent to you electronically. You can also try to reduce your paper usage by using e-tickets and e-docs. If your professors allow you, consider taking notes and creating flash cards electronically. In addition to not having to buy notebooks or flashcards, you will be assured that you will never lose them and can access them anywhere!

11. Reuse school supplies.

If you can’t go paperless, be sure to reuse your notebooks for all remaining paper and use both sides of papers whenever possible.

12. Cut your shower time and try to use less heated water by taking warm showers instead of hot ones.

By shortening your shower for 1-2 minutes, you can save up to 150 gallons of water a month. I recommend making a shower playlist to help you keep track of how long you spend in the shower.

13. When washing your clothes, only wash full loads so that you make the most of your energy consumption.

Since 75% of the energy required to wash laundry goes into heating the water, try to use less heated water by washing clothes with cold water (which has been known to be better for helping clothes colors and shape last longer).

14. Reduce your energy consumption by turning off and unplugging things that consume energy when not in use.

As always, be sure to turn off lights when not in the room! Don’t leave electronics running longer than necessary, and even unplug them when turned off. Electronics can even use vampire power: power is drawn from outlets when chargers and electronics are left plugged in. Using power strips can prevent this since by disconnecting electronics from the power source then they cannot draw vampire power from the outlets .

15. In addition to reducing your energy consumption, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator to help keep you in shape!

16. In addition to recycling, consider ways that you can reduce your trash and get creative in finding ways to reuse and repurpose your ‘trash’.

On average, Americans create 4.4 pounds of trash every day. Consider joining the zero waste movement and trying to live trash-free!

Hopefully, these will inspire you to re-examine your lifestyle and think of how you can go green and reduce your ecological footprint.

If you want to find out what your ecological footprint is, consider checking with the footprint calculator and then creating a plan to reduce your footprint.

For more information, check out the How to Be Green videos created by UD's Sustainability Activation Program .

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-s-left-hand-holding-green-leaf-plant-886521/

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Old Oak Tree

A short poem about returning to one's childhood home.


Looming over the burned-out house is an oak tree,

Hundreds of years old at least.

The smell of smoke is gone, but skeleton of the house remains,

A mere speck when compared to the tree.

Whose branches reach out to me like hands,

Begging for me to come closer.

I do.

I sit under the tree like I did when I was young.

The ground is damp from the rain,

I feel the sogginess soaking through my jeans.

I remain.

It is cooler under the branches,

A limitless amount of leaves shades me from the daylight.

I stay there. All day.

Staring at the charred remains of my childhood home.

I stay there until fog begins to form in the crisp night air,

Cold and sharp against my cheeks.

No longer able to withstand the cold, I take my leave looking back once more.

It's nice to know that even when I'm gone,

The old oak tree remains.

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