9 Little Acts To Living A More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

9 Little Acts To Living A More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

Ways to be more environmentally cautious while living on a college dime.

When living on a college campus, the way to pursue an environmentally-friendly lifestyle is often not at the forefront of our minds. However, there is a myriad of small things we can do that takes little to no effort at all - we just need to become more aware of the ramifications of our daily actions. Here is a list of 9 minor but effective acts you can employ into your everyday life on campus.

1.No lids, no problems

Ask the cashier at Starbucks to not add a lid to your coffee next time you make an order - the less plastic we consume individually, the better!

2. Throw your trash and recyclable objects in the correct bins.

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it is crazy the number of times I have seen plastic thrown in a normal garbage bin!

3. Unplug everything - especially your chargers!

Chargers continuously draw power when they are plugged in, even when they are not actively charging your phone or laptop. Although the amount taken could be small (usually around 0.25 Watts of energy), every bit adds up if this is a careless act you perform every day.

4. Buy products with less plastic

Although I know it is sometimes difficult to be extremely cautious of your plastic consumption on a college budget when you have the opportunity to choose individual apples that are on the shelf instead of grapes in a plastic container aim to take it! Often times the food with less packaging will be healthier for you anyways.

5. Bring your own bags.

When making a purchase at a local market or store, remember to bring your own reusable bag. This will ensure that you don’t use unnecessary plastic bags that you’ll later want to throw out anyway!

6. Turn off the water while shampooing!

This is something that many don’t think to do, yet is very simple. While showering, turn off the water when you are doing things that do not include the use of water. This could include the time spent while shampooing, conditioning, or shaving.

7. Eat less meat

When considering the environmental impacts of meat, environmentalists often focus on red meat: the meat that comes from cows. Cows produce a greenhouse gas called methane that, when released into the atmosphere, contributes to the increasing problem of climate change.

8. Print Less!

We all face this struggle: our annoyance with our professors who make us print out ungodly amounts of paper for annotation credit. However, when possible to avoid, do not print. Rather than printing out a 20 paged Biology 200 study guide, study from your laptop or a computer at the library. Not only is this better for the environment, it will save you a bit of money as well!

9. Join environmental groups on campus.

College campuses are the hub for all innovative and creative ideas. Most campuses will have one to multiple environmental organizations that you can join to help make your campus a more earth-friendly one!

Cover Image Credit: Thomas Richter

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Thirteen Ways Of Looking At The Boston Marathon Bombing

The Boston Bombing from different perspectives.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Boston Marathon Bombing.


I

Her sneakers slapped the pavement

as the cheers drew closer and closer.

She took a left on Boylston,

her heart beating as fast as her feet.

The finish line was just in reach,

But then came an explosion-


II

He waited eagerly along the finish line,

tippy toes and all.

Waiting to see his dad run by.

The bombs went off before that though,

and the little boy never saw his father

finish the marathon.


III

He broke the ribbon,

claiming first place.

That joy was short lived,

for a little while later

Life as he knew it shattered into a million pieces.


IV

Another Marathon Monday,

another day of chaos.

Though this much chaos the officer did not expect,

until the bomb went off,

and all hell broke loose in Beantown.


V

For the tenth year in a row

she came to watch her best friend run.

For the last time

she watched while standing on two feet.

Before her friend made it to the finish,

her right leg was blown off.

All that was left was a bloody stump.


VI

They stood behind a table

handing cups of water to runners

as they raced by.

Soon, the fleet of runners abruptly ceased-

The marathon was stopped

because of a terrorist attack.


VII

She sat upon her daddy’s shoulders

like a bird at its perch,

waiting to see her mommy run by.

She excitedly waved to mommy,

and then boom-

She couldn’t find mommy,

who was somewhere in the crowd of people,

screaming, crying, confused.


VIII

He couldn’t do it.

He couldn’t help everybody.

Twenty two years on the force,

and nothing like this had ever happened before.

A terrorist attack in his beloved city.

It shook him to the core-


IX

She finished the marathon

with her best time yet.

Overjoyed, she set off towards the crowds

to look for her fiance.

Simultaneously, they reached out to embrace,

just as the backpack laying a few feet away

exploded with no warning.

Their lives would never be the same again.


X

Boylston Street was a sea of runners,

as it always was this day.

He would soon realize

today was not like every other Marathon Monday.

A lone wolf escaped the crowd of onlookers,

and then something exploded amidst the crowd.


XI

The call she would never forget.

There was a bombing at the finish line,

motives thought to be terrorism.

The screams of agony,

the blood, the limbs.

The shock, the confusion,

the lifeless body of a little boy.


XII

The news alert popped up on my mom’s phone;

A bomb exploded at the marathon.

We did not yet know

it was much more than a bomb.

Nobody in the mall did.

I never imagined it would happen here,

but isn’t that what everyone always thinks?


XIII

I didn’t want to do it.

Tamerlan left me no choice.

And now, I must pay.

Cover Image Credit: The New York Post

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Dear Convocation: What Are You?

Are you a pulpit, a political tool, or a public space of ideas?

If you're a student at Liberty University here in Lynchburg, Virginia, you know that Convocation is nothing short of incredible. It's a dizzying experience at first, being surrounded by 13,000+ peers and staff, joining in a communal worship service, and being able to hear speakers whose names may be passed around your dinner table during school breaks.

Every residential, on-campus student attends Convo three times a week. We sit in assigned sections. At Convocation, it is a humbling experience to recognize that you are not just a student, but part of a student body, part of the body of Christ.

But a growing part of that student body is now beginning to question not just who is speaking on a said day, or what was said, but what Convocation actually is.

According to Liberty's website, Convocation is not a chapel service, despite the 15-20 minute worship held before speakers rise to the podium. This distinction allows them to host any number of diverse speakers, as Convocation "allows people from all walks of life to compel, equip, and challenge our students to think clearly and with conviction."

Guests at Convo are chosen by “relevance,” and if the speaker happens to “possess a message that will contribute to pivotal cultural conversations that stretch both the hearts and minds of our students, faculty, and staff.”

In these past few years, however, it's not been hard to find students in the halls or at the gym or simply walking down University Boulevard and hear them dreading yet "another political Convo" and "another pastor selling a book," or squealing, "I can't believe so-in-so said that!"

That's not to say that these kinds of speakers are featured prevalently at our school—but they come often enough that we notice and make memes like the brilliant millennials we are. As far as political Convos go, it's no secret that our school president, Jerry Falwell Jr., supported and continues to support now-U.S. President Donald Trump.

But just how much of that support trickles into our Convocation remains to be seen, as right-wing commentators, journalists, and Trump Campaign affiliates have often been under the Convocation spotlight.

What pains me personally about Convo, however, is that last semester, (including those in panels and grouped speakers) only 22% of all Convocation speakers were women. Only 30% of female speakers spoke unaccompanied. While it is uncommon, and in many cases unheard of for women to speak with authority from a Christian pulpit, Convocation is clearly defined as separate from Chapel.

Considering that the majority of undergrads at Liberty are women, this poses a interesting question: If Convocation is not Chapel, then what is it, and do the same traditional criterion of the pulpit also apply to Convo?

An initial response may very well be, no, of course not; we've had speakers all the way from Social Democrat Bernie Sanders to Republican Ted Cruz and his presidential bid in 2015, from Christine Caine and her "Propel Women" initiative, to the Robertson family of the A&E reality show, Duck Dynasty.

However, if that truly were the case, then why do these numbers exist in 2017? Why is the ratio of female speakers to male speakers so unequal?

Dear Convocation, what are you?

This is not to say that male speakers are unable to teach, preach, or persuade female students at Liberty; rather, this is a matter of representation. Of the percentage aforementioned, only 33% of female speakers were of color, compared to an even more disappointing 23% of the male speakers.

In the world of #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, or #timesup, where does Convocation fit in?

If Convocation is not Chapel, if it is meant to enrich our college experience by exposing us to diverse and culturally relevant speakers in order for us "Champions for Christ" to better engage with the world around us…why are those beautiful and powerful and culturally-relevant discussions on fighting racism, domestic abuse, sexism, why are they so few and far between? The voices we hear matter.

Dear Convocation, are you a pulpit, a political tool, or a public space of ideas?

Let me know when you've figured it out. In the meantime, I'll go find my seat in section 101, and I am looking forward to what this new semester will bring.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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