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UConn Serves Sustainability And You Should Too: 5 Steps To Become More Eco-Friendly

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 U Conn chapter.

The University of Connecticut is a great school with lots of advantages — great athletics, a beautiful campus, and amazing professors and classes. Beyond the most noticeable benefits, UConn dedicates time, money, and resources to being eco-friendly and sustainable in order to protect our planet through a variety of different initiatives.

UConn’s Efforts

UConn was founded in 1881 as an agricultural school, so Earth and its land are truly near and dear to our hearts. When it comes to learning, UConn offers 300 undergraduate and 111 graduate courses centered around sustainability or environmental education. Around campus, we have an extensive amount of solar panels, a greenhouse on top of McHugh Hall as well as one attached to our biology building, and use fuel cells and geothermal sources to heat our buildings. There are a variety of organizations that promote eco-friendly living as well, including an Eco-House Living Learning Community (LLC), many environmental education clubs, and an annual Earth Day Spring Fling with activities and food held in the spring semester. UConn also grows its own fruits and vegetables for Whitney dining hall and uses the food waste from all eight dining locations for compost and renewable biofuel. There is also a goal to become carbon neutral by 2030, meaning the university will have an equal balance of carbon emitted and absorbed. This will be a huge environmental move for the university. Thanks to all of these efforts, UConn was ranked the sixth most sustainable university by UI GreenMetric World University Rankings and #16 by the Princeton Review. Large universities and corporations are not the only ways climate change and global warming can be reduced and prevented. There are many small steps we as college students can take to make our lives a little moregreen.

Five Steps to Sustainability

1. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle!

This saying is well known and was probably introduced to you in elementary school, but it still rings true:

Reuse: there are many items you can reuse in your daily life to eliminate plastic use. Some examples include water bottles, a metal safety razor, utensils and Tupperware, washcloths, and grocery bags. This can even go as detailed as re-useable makeup wipes, straws, and mason jars. For every single-use material you use, there is probably a re-useable option.

Reduce: reducing the amount of waste you have relates directly back to re-using as you are cutting down the single-use items you use. This can also mean reducing the amount of clothes you own, the amount you drive your car, the length of your showers, or your overall consumption of meat products. Since all of these things directly relate to reducing the amount of fossil fuels, you are doing your part in helping the planet.

Recycle: recycling is one of the easiest things you can do for the planet that makes a big difference. It is as simple as throwing your bottle or can into the right container rather than just tossing it in the trash. Items that can be recycled include glass, metal, plastics, tires, paper, aluminum, and cardboard, which is a huge portion of the things we use on a daily basis.

2. thrift your clothes

Having an abundance of clothes can be so fun, but can also contribute to the amount of clothing that eventually ends up in landfills. This is why thrifting clothes is a great way to add to your closet while being kind to the environment in the process. HuskyTHRIFT at UConn is one way to participate in thrifting and raise money for HuskyTHON. HuskyTHRIFT will accept any old UConn or HuskyTHON-related clothes, and the money that people use to buy your clothes goes straight to your donor drive to raise money for HuskyTHON. Another option to thrift at UConn is the UConn Swap Shop where you bring in your old clothes to exchange for other items in the shop.

3. Vote

It is important to note that substantial global environmental change starts with the leaders of countries and companies that control carbon emissions. Our own personal efforts make a considerable change, but voting pushes that change even further. It is imperative to do your research and pick candidates that support environmentally safe practices, policies, and change that help our planet long-term. If you are not sure how to vote while in college, check out this article I wrote that walks you through the steps of voting while in college.

Original Illustration Created in Canva for Her Campus Media

4. Buying + Eating Locally

Locally sourced food is a great way to support local businesses but is also great for the environment. Eating and buying locally reduces the amount of fossil fuels used to transport food from state to state. Farmers are also more inclined to use sustainable growing practices if their food is being eaten by people close by which is always a benefit. You can buy locally by going to farmer’s and flea markets around your area, and eat locally by picking restaurants that locally source their ingredients.

5. Reducing Meat Consumption

Growing meat like chicken and beef takes up tons of land and forest resources, which is why reducing your meat consumption can help the environment overall. An easy way to start is by doing a popular trend called “Meatless Mondays” which helps the environment and could improve your overall health. This is a great opportunity to try new meals, recipes, and foods that do not involve meat. I look forward to starting this myself as a way to be more sustainable.

A little goes a long way

You may believe that your personal efforts or change are insignificant or small, but that is simply not true. Any attempt to help the planet is a good one and can come from one of the ways listed above or from other personal efforts. Here’s to helping out Earth in a small way and making a big impact to be moregreen.

Bailey Brake

U Conn '26

Bailey Brake is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut serving as Huskython Chair and Secretary for HerCampus UConn. Her love for writing, reading, and speaking originated when she joined a competitive public speaking organization at the age of 7. Since then, the art of words and diction and how they can influence others has been her passion. When she is not writing for HerCampus, she spends her time at UConn being a tour guide for incoming and prospective students. She also participates in Huskython -an 18-hour dance marathon raising money for Connecticut's Children's Hospital- as a morale dancer. She is currently double majoring in political science and human rights and hopes to make a difference in this world for the communities that need it. In her spare time, Bailey enjoys baking, listening to Taylor Swift, dancing, and a good debrief session with her friends. There is always time for a shopping trip, car ride jam sesh, and ice cream stop in Bailey's schedule.