Ways for College Students to Stay Green on Campus

If you’re a teenager, there’s a pretty good chance that you grew up in a home that at least recycled. That’s because over the past 20 years or so, the “go green” movement has become bigger than ever before. From recycling plastic to purchasing hybrid cards, people are becoming more actively aware of the fact that our planet needs our support.

So, if you’re a college student, it makes perfect sense that you may want to know ways that you can take the eco-friendly movement a bit further by finding out methods that can keep you “green” while you’re living on campus. Honestly, the list is pretty endless, but here are a few to get you motivated.

Be paper conscious. If there was a Top Five list of people who use the most paper, college students would undoubtedly be on it. From books and notebooks, tests and term papers, you definitely have a lot to write and type about. In the effort to not consume a lot of paper, here are some things that you can do: purchase used textbooks (or you can even rent them at sites like or; buy recycled notebooks and paper (you can find them at Office Max, Staples and even Target); print on both sides of the paper and when it comes to faxes or things that need your e-signature, Google Drive and HelloFax have now merged. You can actually send 50 faxes a month per free through their service. Drive less. OK, if you live on a college campus, this is one that should be really simple to do. The less you drive, the less emissions there are in the air and that’s ultimately good for everyone. If you don’t live on campus, why not consider carpooling a couple of times per week or riding your bike or the bus? If you’re still not sold, look at it this way: It’s a great way to pocket some gas money and get a bit of exercise in the process (even if it is just walking to your bus stop).

Watch the water. Did you know that an average shower (of about 5-7 minutes) equals out to 15-25 gallons of water being used? So, in the water category, the first thing that you can do is take shorter ones and if you live off-campus, invest in a low-flow shower head. There are other steps that you can take as well that are water-related. How about getting a recycled water container rather than purchasing bottled water (think about all of the plastic that is being used!) and again, if you live off of the yard, putting a water filter on all of your faucets? Oh, and remember to do what our mothers taught us since we could reach the sink: Turn the water off when you’re not actually using it (like while you’re brushing your teeth, for instance).

Buy used. Being a college student means that you have to budget, probably more than you ever have before in your entire life. It also means that you’ll be socializing more than you ever have too. You’ll probably have more dates, more athletic events, not to even consider Homecoming. This means that there can be a real temptation to spend more time in the mall. Why not “go green” by going used, instead? Craigslist, eBay, yard sales and thrift stores may sell second-hand items, but they’re also cheaper. The extra perk is that there’s a huge chance that when you walk into a room, you won’t see 10 other people with your same outfit on (used oftentimes is synonymous with one-of-a-kind!).

Conserve energy. It’s late and you’ve been studying for you masters in social work online for hours. That’s hours with the lights on, hours with your PC plugged in and hours of electricity being used. There are things that you can do to conserve all of that energy. Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. Use your laptop instead of your desktop (desktops use about 60% more energy) and unplug whatever you’re not directly using/needing at the time (including cell phone chargers). The earth will thank you for it and when you get to a place of paying your own electricity bill on a monthly basis, so will your wallet!

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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