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To a More Sustainable 2023: 5 Ways to Be More Sustainable as a Student

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved celebrating Earth Day. It’s the perfect time to come to our senses and see what we can do to help our planet. While the people in charge have put the climate problem on the back burner, climate change keeps progressing and worsening. Scientists from all over the world say that we still have time to reverse some of the damage and save the world around us from disappearing, but as college students, we may find this somewhat overwhelming and difficult to get involved in. Here is a list of five ways us students can be more sustainable on campus:

  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle:

As repetitive as it sounds, participating in the three R’s is a great way to ease into sustainability. On most parts of campus, they have recycling bins where you can take your cans and water bottles. You can also repurpose some of your recyclables. For example, you can use a water bottle or a Clorox wipe container as a flower vase. Lastly, we can use less wasteful products such as reusable plates and cups instead of things that can be easily thrown away.

  1. Less consumption of energy:

Something that contributes to climate change is the excessive use of energy. We can find ourselves using unnecessary energy such as leaving lights lights on when it’s still bright out or when we leave the room. Instead, we can unplug anything that is not in use such as a coffee maker, a charger, a lamp, and many other things. Instead of keeping lights on during the day, we can take advantage of the light outside, especially with daylight savings time; the amount of time we have our lights on should be minimal.

  1. Less consumption of water:

Wasting water has been another ongoing issue. While we don’t directly see the damage it does, it can be irreversible. We have normalized taking showers that are 10+ minutes long or longer, and using our dishwashers excessively; we may not realize all the water that is wasted when using dishwashing equipment. Instead, we can make our shower time shorter by timing it and limiting ourselves to listening to only two songs in the shower. We can also turn on the water as soon as we get in. Another great strategy is to hand wash dishes. This way you can control how much water you use, or simply commit to only using the dishwasher 2-3 times a week. 

4.Walking rather than driving:

As students, the vast majority of us live near or on campus which gives us the opportunity to walk on campus. If this is not the case, many colleges offer public transportation to make it accessible for students that need it. It’s important to know the damage that the emissions produced by our cars cause to the environment for our own convenience. Simply choosing to walk to class, or carpool with a friend, or deciding to take public transportation, or ride a bike or rechargeable scooter is one less vehicle producing emissions. While it can be difficult, it is not impossible to find sustainable ways to commute.

5. Avoid two-day shipping:

Many of us like the accessibility of getting our things delivered fast, but do we really need it that urgently? Two-day shipping causes more emissions than anything else. We sometimes see Amazon trucks in the same building day after day just to satisfy the customer that chose free two-day delivery. It’s important to note that online shopping produces less emissions, but only if done right. Some websites offer a day where they drop off most packages for other customers, meaning it’s less trips for them and less emissions produced (e.g Amazon day-delivery has lower carbon emissions). As consumers, we can opt to use these lower emission options and still get our merchandise at a reasonable time. 

While it seems almost impossible to get started, one small step that we do can be extremely impactful. Any small change that we do can assure us our future and a healthy future. We still have time to reverse any damage done, so why not contribute with little changes?

I am a Senior from Puerto Rico going to Michigan State University to major in Psychology. My goal is obtain a psyD in Neuropsychology or Clinical Psychology and open my practice to help children and people who need help.