How to Stay Sustainable on Campus

While I’d love to write an article about the reasons why everyone should live a zero-waste life, I can’t. For one, it’d be insanely hypocritical and two, for some people, it’s genuinely not possible. In a lot of ways, living a sustainable lifestyle can seem very overwhelming, but it’s critical that you do anything you can to help, regardless of how much impact you think it will have. Little steps are indubitably better than none. Here are some of the best, small ways to do your part around campus. 

  • Always have your reusable water bottle. 

    • ​As simple and easy as it sounds, this is SO important. Bring your reusable water bottle to class, to lunch, wherever you go! Don’t let yourself make excuses for buying single-use plastic bottles, especially if your dorm is only a couple minutes away!
  •  Make your laundry count.

    • ​Make sure that when you do laundry, you’re doing the largest possible load of clothing that actually needs to be washed. Not only does laundry use up a lot of water and energy, but the more you wash your clothes, the more worn out they become. Prolong the life of your clothing, don’t use as much water, and save some time in your schedule by really only doing laundry when you need to. 
  •  Say no to plastic bags.

    • ​Despite the fact that I'm on a college student budget, I always seem to manage to find myself shopping. Now, I always carry around a reusable bag, just in case I find myself in need of one. Only 10 states in the US have banned single-use plastic bags, but you can still do your part to limit your use of plastic by making sure only to use reusable ones!
  • Say goodbye to the AC and lights. 

    • ​Obviously, when it's unbearably hot, the AC is necessary. But, your room doesn’t need to be frigid, especially if you’re sleeping with 5 blankets to maintain warmth. It’s also important that you don’t keep the AC running or the lights on when you aren’t actually in the room. Simply put, it’s a huge waste of energy and unsustainable in every way. It’s also going to cost you way more once you start paying an electric bill. So, get in the habit now and help reduce your energy consumption.
  • Organize a clothing swap. 

    • I never seem to have enough clothes. Sure, my mom says that I do, but my closet begs to differ. However, textile waste is a HUGE problem for our environment and while secondhand shopping is better than fast-fashion, sometimes there isn't a lot of access to thrift stores. Instead of spending any money, spend time with friends and create a clothing swap. Any clothes that you don’t want anymore you can throw into the pile, and in exchange, you can pick up some new styles for free. Quality time with friends, free clothing, and all for the good of our climate. 

While some of these steps might seem small and you might even already do some of them in your everyday routine, just remember that even small steps are hugely important in this time of climate change. If everyone took the extra initiative to make a small adjustment to living a more sustainable life, the world would be in a much better place. Obviously, there is more to be said and done about climate justice. Corporations need to be held accountable. Our government needs to be held accountable. But do what you can in your daily life, and encourage those around you to do the same and at least we’ll be doing more than nothing.