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Five Ways To Become More Sustainable on Campus This Year

Are you alarmed about climate change and looking to make a difference? Are you into a green and eco-friendly lifestyle, but in the past have had trouble finding everyday ways to subscribe to new environmentally friendly practices? Starting small is a start, and Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg has a lot to offer in terms of sustainable living!

  1. Support Virginia Tech’s new plastic bag collection program! 

Here at Virginia Tech, I am a member of the Waste Team, some of this year’s interns for the Office of Sustainability. This year, for the second time we will distribute NexTrex Bins here on campus as a way to collect soft plastics. This allows us to keep such harmful plastic waste out of the waste stream. The bins we place around campus this fall are located at Cheatham Hall, Squires Student Center, Holden Hall, and the Sterrett Center. 

We are collecting soft plastics. This includes: produce bags, store bags, ice bags, Ziploc and other reclosable bags, cereal box liners, case overwrap, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, and plastic e-commerce mailers. To my girls and guys out there that online shop, includes those packaging bags and zip containers that clothes come in. By donating to these NexTrex bins you can help the school to achieve goal number seven of the Climate Action Commitment to become a Zero-Waste campus by 2030. 

  1. Submit a green RFP! Open to all students

This fall, our university made clear its commitment to following through in the fight for climate justice and wants students in the community to get involved too. They have created a Green RFP Program allowing students and their organizations to submit proposals for sustainable ideas they would like to see implemented on campus. 

The proposals can be creative, but they should also support the Climate Action Commitment to help the campus be more sustainable and environmentally conscious. If you want to submit a proposal, they are open until November 11, 2022. For more information visit the hyperlink, and get to brainstorming ideas with some friends.

  1. Tune into your local community! 

If you haven’t already heard of the ever-so-popular Blacksburg Farmers Market that happens every week on Wednesday and Saturday you are missing out. It is located in the heart of downtown Blacksburg at Market Square Park. It is adjacent to the campus area nearby Squires Student Center and it has special events, tons of vendors, amazing food, and live entertainment. Grab a few friends and a sustainable shopping bag and get down to the market. This is a great way to get involved and support local businesses in the community. Shopping locally is a great way to get sustainable produce as it requires fewer miles spent on food transportation by cutting carbon emissions. If you are looking to get more deeply involved with the farmer’s market, you can also become a volunteer.

Another way to get in tune with the community is by learning about the Southwest Virginia Waste and Recycling Conference that occurred during the week of September 26 here at Virginia Tech. Our Office of Sustainability and my team, the Waste Team presented their commitment to the Climate Action Goals they’ve created to make the campus as sustainable as possible by 2030. Learn more about the conference here

  1. Immerse yourself in nature

Go on a walk outside or on a hike! If you want to keep the trip local, I encourage you to take a stroll in our beautiful Heritage Park here in Blacksburg. You can find it located down the road on Glade behind the University City boulevard Kroger. It is my very favorite, and I am lucky enough that is it just down the road from my apartment here. The sunsets are to die for.

However, not only is Blacksburg itself beautiful, but the areas surrounding us have a plethora of places to explore. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a sight to see, so I must recommend the places I’ve been to that are great. For a shorter hike with an incredible view, check out Bald Knob. For a longer hike with a waterfall and beautiful views, visit the Cascades. 

  1. Support Virginia Tech’s Office of Sustainability! 

If you like living sustainably and want to see our planet thrive, support our causes by getting involved. The time is now. Follow the office’s Instagram and Twitter @vtsustainable and sign up for their newsletter on the university website. Additionally, get directly involved with the office by becoming an Office of Sustainability intern. Exciting news. There also may be applications opening for this winter’s term, so keep your eyes peeled on both social media and the website this fall. 

Sanaa Payge

Virginia Tech '23

Sanaa Payge (she/her) is a senior at Virginia Tech. She is majoring in smart and sustainable cities with a minor in Africana studies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, fashion, and hanging out with friends. You will always find her playing music - especially on vinyl! Working on the editing and writing teams for Her Campus is her passion.
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