If stacks of papers in your college dorm room, long drives and daily double mocha lattes are your vision of college life, think again. Today’s college-bound students can be smart and Earth-friendly by taking these easy steps.
Consider the commute. If you’re thinking about commuting to college from home, check out the public transportation in your area. For those who are college dorm room-bound, choosing a college in a city with a decent bus or light rail system can save you from needing a car at all. If driving is unavoidable, check out online message boards for your college to see if you can carpool.
Apply online. Most colleges accept—and even prefer—online applications instead of the traditional paper sort. Some schools will even wave or reduce the application fee if you apply online. Just be sure to save your applications for your records.
Buy an e-book. Lighten your paper load by purchasing electronic copies of your required textbooks online or through a digital reader like Kindle. Web sites like DigitalTextbooks.com have downloads of major titles from biology to business that you can read on your computer. And speaking of green, digital textbooks can save you up to 50 percent off the printed price.
Get a reusable coffee mug. Did you know that if you used a reusable coffee mug at your local coffee shop each morning, you could help prevent 34,000 pounds of paper cups from filling up landfills every year? Switching to a plastic or metal mug can make a big difference in your carbon footprint. Ask for a reusable coffee mug with your college’s logo for a high school graduation gift and feel good about that morning cup of joe.
Type your notes: Save trees by nixing the notebooks and toting a lightweight laptop instead. Some of the newer, inexpensive netbooks are smaller than eight inches and can hold battery power for up to eight hours. This is great for taking notes in class, doing research using your school’s wireless connection and writing papers anywhere from your college dorm room to the campus green.
Roxana Wells is an eco-savvy teacher and freelance writer who lives in Ogden, Utah. She holds a graduate degree in education from Utah State University and loves to go hiking with her husband in her spare time.