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Editor's Column

This Week's Campus Trend is 'Going Green'

Features Editor

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

It only seems appropriate that Green Week is coming right after my favorite green-themed holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. So with green still on the brain, this week offers the perfect reminder that our every decision affects not only ourselves and those directly around us, but also the entire planet and human race, which is pretty daunting to say the least. But there are things we can do, and ways we can help. Though many of us have heard it all before, and know what we are supposed to do to “stay green,” it’s always a good idea to think of new creative ways, as well as take the reminder to be eco-friendly to heart.

My own day usually begins with approximately eight cups of coffee from dining halls around campus. The amount of paper cups that this amounts to in a year is probably disgusting. This is why I have opted to use a reusable coffee to-go cup. Simple enough, but plastic water bottles aren’t the only culprit in producing massive waste on a college campus.

And then there is printing. Many professors have taken pity on my pockets and not made me purchase whole textbooks, but opt to post the readings online for us to print out individually. Thank goodness for print bucks, because I have had to print millions of pages so far this year. But sometimes those O’Neill printers are not set to double-sided default, and you end up printing out 40 pages instead of a mere 20. Try repurposing these pages when you are done with them, using the backs of them for other uses–making to do lists, doodling, brainstorming, planning out your week, or leaving your roommates notes.

Also, when it comes to the copious amounts of paper we all use, it is good to spread the love. Know someone else taking the same class you once took? Why not pass along your notes, study guides, and handouts to them so they don’t have to print them out themselves? Let’s be honest—how often do we really look back at the notes and handouts that we save from previous classes? Even old textbooks from classes, why not pass them along—the bookstore will only give you about $2 for the $200 textbook you purchased anyway.

Also, a lot of textbooks are offered digitally, which also saves paper, and purchasing a Kindle and downloading the textbook is definitely cheaper than purchasing the hardcover edition. More and more are becoming increasingly available online, so look out for them!

Or maybe it’s as simple as using the metal silverware and actual plates and bowls in the dining halls as opposed to the throw away to-go containers for every meal. Or grab fewer napkins when you are on the go. There are plenty of things to do in all parts of your college life. If you keep your eyes peeled, the opportunities are endless.

It’s great to get your roommates involved, too. It can be hard to remember to turn the lights off, not leave the water running, or always recycle, but if you all are on top of it, and reminding each other, it’s possible. A little roommate encouragment can go a long way in making the whole campus more green. It’s always easier to accomplish goals when you have people supporting you in it. That’s what roomies are for, right?

There are tons of ways to get involved, and it’s an easy way to make a difference in the world and feel good about your choices. Hopefully, the reminder to reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, etc. will encourage us all to make just a little bit more effort in our conservation efforts, and we can see “staying green” become the trend on campus beyond just this one week.


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