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Your Guide to Living a Sustainable Lifestyle as a St. John’s University Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

Presented by Garnier x Her Campus

As we approach the middle of the semester, midterm season is officially in full swing. Cue the intense studying, the sleepless nights, and the impending stress for the next few weeks. While you may feel pressure to immerse yourself into studying and completing assignments 24/7, that mindset will eventually cause you to be unproductive, burnt out, and overall have a negative impact on your mental health. 

So, take a step back this midterm season, focus on yourself, and use this guide on how to be a sustainable St. John’s University student!

Start the day off with a warm drink

Considering that we’re still on the cusp of winter in New York City, it’s safe to say that a warm drink is the best, especially during this time of year. Not only will it help rejuvenate you, but it also allows you to slow your pace and feel more relaxed. If you’re on campus grabbing your favorite tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, be sure to bring your cute reusable tumbler to be more environmentally conscious. This way, you’ll be reducing the amount of plastic waste you use while getting to enjoy your beverage. For commuters, you can make your drink at home and sip on it in your favorite mug!

Skincare and hair care with Garnier

It’s time to pamper yourself with some Garnier goodies! For those of you who want your skin to feel hydrated and refreshed, I recommend the Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1. We all know that the first step in any skincare routine is cleansing, and Garnier’s micellar water does a fantastic job at gently and thoroughly cleansing your face – regardless of your skin type. The best part is that you can use this with the Micellar Cleansing Eco Pads, which are reusable, environmentally friendly pads that can be washed after every use. For your hair care goals, I recommend the Garnier Sleek and Shine shampoo and conditioner. This set is perfect for obtaining beautiful, glossy, and healthy hair, and comes in recyclable plastic containers. With all of these products, you’re bound to obtain that superstar glow while protecting the environment. Garnier’s products are not only effective, but are also made with 99% vegan ingredients* and approved by Cruelty Free International. With a commitment to Greener Beauty, Garnier is also working towards using 100% recycled plastic by 2025.

Preparing affordable & healthy meals

As busy college students, finding the time (and money) to squeeze in healthy meals can be hard. More than that, it’s a struggle to fit nutrition into our budget, while still being health and environmentally conscious. Lucky for us at St. John’s – in Queens, outside the clamor of the city – there are multiple resources we can use to make sure we are staying healthy while not going too far into our pockets. For example, you can buy organic fruits and veggies from local outdoor markets – my personal favorite Japanese pears are found at multiple markets close to campus in Flushing or Bayside! 

For those of us who live by campus, be sure to stay updated with the Radical Love Free Store (IG: @radicallovefreestore) – a student-run mutual aid hosting pop-up shops and events providing students in need with resources and money for essentials like groceries, hygiene, or other necessities. As students, you can donate items (clothes, money, household items, and more) to the store, or pick up any essentials you need, free of charge! They provide a range of personal, household, and grocery essentials — from tampons and laundry detergent to apple juice and Ramen. You can find further information about their resources and on food insecurity among St. John’s students here

Around campus, there are also many culturally diverse food spots to try out. Check out varieties of Bengali and South Asian cuisine, and various Thai and Caribbean spots close to campus! Giving money back to small businesses and the cultural communities we come from is our responsibility as ethical and conscious spenders, especially in a diverse place like Queens. Food gives us, as students, the perfect opportunity to do that, while having fun and trying new experiences, at affordable prices!  

Go outside – take a walk!

While it’s easy to stay cooped up inside, sometimes a change in scenery and a breath of fresh air is the key to re-energizing yourself. As St. John’s students, we are fortunate to have a campus with beautiful greenery and lots of trees. When you’re on campus, take a few minutes to walk outside on the Great Lawn in between classes. Use this time to forget your stressful weekend or your hectic workload. I promise, it will help clear your mind and improve your concentration when you start diving back into your studies again. 

Fun fact: taking a walk outside is considered being environmentally conscious since we use less electricity, which helps us reduce our carbon footprint! 

Incorporate sustainability into your daily life at St. John’s

If you are inspired or moved by important sustainability and environmentally-friendly initiatives and efforts, there are lots of ways to get involved on campus! Check out St. John’s Earth Club, which hosts events like tote bag painting, or community gardening, to highlight various environmental issues. 

In collaboration with St. John’s chapter of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an organization dedicated to various social justice initiatives, Earth Club and other students have been able to create a community garden at St. John’s, harvesting around 1,000 organic vegetables annually. CRS and other student organizations also host panels and events, inviting leaders and other figures to speak on local and greater environmental issues as well as fair trade and other efforts. You can stay involved with their efforts via their Instagrams (@stjohnscrs and @earthclubsju).

And, if you want another way to participate in a powerful activity, Her Campus at St. John’s would love for you to join our Earth Day Event! This event is an incredible way to take #onegreenstep by taking part in a thrift flip. Attendees will have the chance to give their old clothing new life by exchanging it with other chapter members before “flipping” it into a new, inspiring piece with paint, thread, ribbon, etc! Any unused clothing will be donated to a local women’s shelter. It’s essential to understand that making environmental change begins with critically analyzing the choices one makes with their wallet. Rather than buying new clothing, “thrift-flipping” is a great way to combat overconsumption in consumer habits. In this way, we encourage meaningful, mindful recycling as well as a long-term adjustment in the mindset of our chapter members. This event is happening on Wednesday, April 19th at 5:30 PM in DAC 208. Hope to see you there! 

Outside of student efforts, you can stay updated on what St. John’s is doing to promote campus sustainability here. Queens is also home to many thrift stores and local flea markets – some close to St. John’s! Make sure to do your research and check local thrift stores/markets out. Through spending and wasting less money, we can also make better choices toward creating a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable Earth. 

As college students, our mental health should always be a priority. So take this time to be mindful, not only of yourself, but also of the environment. You won’t become a sustainability queen in one day, but with small steps, we can all eventually reach that point.  

Share your thoughts on what you think of our sustainable self-care day routine and let us know what you would add too!

*footnote: no animal derived ingredients

This is a sponsored article. All opinions are 100% our own.

Sharupa Azmal

St. John's '24

Sharupa Azmal is a junior who is majoring in Pharmacy at St. John’s University. Besides writing for Her Campus, she finds herself journaling or blogging frequently. Her other pastimes include reading books and webtoons, watching movies (yes Bollywood films are included), and dragging her friends on little trips throughout New York City.
Amal Ahmad

St. John's '24

Hi everyone! I'm a fourth-year legal studies major, with minors in creative writing and critical race and ethnic studies. I have a strong passion for writing as a tool of creative, academic, and cultural or social expression, and Her Campus has been an amazing outlet for me to do that. I hope to further my education in either law or English!