How To Adopt Eco-Friendly Habits As a College Student

How To Adopt Eco-Friendly Habits As a College Student
  • Opening Intro -

    Every college student knows what it's like to have a schedule that is overflowing with academic commitments, athletic events, and social gatherings.

    Balancing your personal life with your school life can be difficult to decipher at first.


However, your environmental consciousness does not have to suffer just because you’re busy. In fact, you will probably be inspired by the other ingenious minds around you to implement new practices that conserve natural resources!

Here are a few suggestions for how to get started.

Sourcing Your Food Locally

Start by paying attention to where your food comes from. Most food products are shipped across long distances to get to your plate, which ends up contributing to a substantial portion of greenhouse gas emissions.

Factory farms are notorious for allowing animal waste to runoff into nearby rivers and streams. Non-organic produce is often sprayed with harmful pesticides and herbicides that cause health problems for farm workers, and inevitably pollute the air, soil, and water.

There are a plethora of toxic implications related to industrial agriculture practices, yet don’t let them overwhelm you.

The best way to contribute to regenerative food systems is by supporting local farmers. Shop at the seasonal farmer’s market if there’s one available.

Ask around about Community Supported Agriculture programs, where you can receive a regular delivery of fresh produce directly from regional farms.

You may even be able to find a nearby source of meat, grains, and dairy. Regardless of what you have access to locally, giving some awareness to your food’s background is better than none at all.

Saving Resources in Your Dorm

You may think that staying in a dorm prevents you from making eco-friendly lifestyle decisions. That is certainly not the case!

First and foremost, you can reduce your footprint through your regular purchasing habits. Whenever possible, opt for biodegradable soaps and packaging materials. Shop for second-hand clothing and furniture instead of brand new products.

Try having a clothing swap with your friends if you’re itching for a new outfit to impress your crush. Take reusable bags to the grocery store or pharmacy instead of using plastic ones.

With respect to your living quarters, be sure to turn off your lights along with any heating or cooling systems every time you leave your dorm. Consider setting up a low-tech greywater system for your bathroom; simply collect wastewater in a 5-gallon bucket while showering, and then use that water to flush the toilet!

In general, strive to take showers that last less than ten minutes and turn off the sink while you’re brushing your teeth. These actions may seem small, but they add up in the long run. Once you get the hang of them, they will serve you and your household for years to come!

Starting a Housing Cooperative

If you have the option to live off-campus, give some thought to renting a house with friends, and set clear intentions to share a communal, sustainable space together.

You might start a pollinator or vegetable garden in the yard, purchase a solar battery with a few panels to generate electricity, set up a clothesline to use instead of a dryer, build compost bins for your food scraps, or agree to bike to class every day when the weather is pleasant.

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Starting a housing cooperative can be super fun and rewarding because the possibilities are endless! Plus, you can easily support each other in your efforts, and hold one another accountable when it comes to your collective resource conservation. Delicious potlucks and lively conversations about respecting the earth are simply an added bonus on the weekends.

Just like any other lifestyle practice, making environmentally conscious decisions becomes more effortless as time goes on. Even if you can’t do everything you’d like to as a college student, adopting a handful of eco-friendly habits will inspire you to keep learning. Then you can go out into the world and share your awesome knowledge of sustainable practices with whatever community you find yourself in.

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