Green Ways to Wind Down the Semester

May 15, 2013

With the semester quickly winding down and summer break just around the corner, it’s important for students leaving campus to try and make a greener transition when moving out. After all, with so many people transitioning at the same time, the effects can be a major stress on the local environment.

dorm room 1

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdwhitney/3936031508/sizes/z/in/photostream/

That being the case, even before final projects are handed in and tests taken, consider some of the following eco-friendly and sustainable ways to finish up the academic year and return home on a greener note.

  1. Textbooks: Every semester students usually have to purchase a few text books for each class, yet the majority won’t be used after the class has been completed. Instead of taking them home where they will sit on a shelf or in a box in the basement, sell them to students who may need them next year. Also, check with the university book annex as they often buy back books in good condition that will be used again.

  1. Furnishings: Whether it’s a rug, comfortable chair, or wall decoration, students sometimes purchase a few extra furnishings to make dorm rooms or off campus housing a little cozier, but may not take these items home. Instead of putting them on the street for the trashman, try reselling or passing them on to other students who could put them to good use next fall.

  2. Clothing: If students know they want new outfits for the coming months, hold a dorm or campus clothing swap before everyone departs. A small fee could be charged with all proceeds going to charity.

  3. Storage: Put in storage belongings you know you want to keep but don’t need back home. This will allow for lighter travel with less energy and resources being expended hauling everything back and forth. dorm 2http://www.flickr.com/photos/pearlbear/203390074/sizes/z/in/photostream/

  4. Donate: After all is said and done, anything that’s usable that you weren’t able to sell or give away in time should be donated to a local charity. Donating is one of the best forms of putting things on the path to being reused.
  5. Recycle: When cleaning up and clearing out, old handouts, notices, pizza boxes, bottles and other similar items are likely to pile up. Whatever can be recycled should be placed in the proper bin.

  6. Cleansers: When cleaning living spaces, try using eco-friendly cleansers. They won’t emit noxious fumes that are unhealthy to breathe, and because they aren’t chemically based, they won’t harm the environment when poured down the drain

  7. Reusables: Moving can be exhausting and require plenty of snacks and drinks, so carry a reusable water bottle and reusable cutlery for the trip home. Doing so prevents more non-biodegradable plastic ware from sitting in the local landfill.

  8. Classes: Before departing, drop a note to some of your professors who taught classes in which there seemed to be a lot of paper waste. Ask them to find ways to digitize handouts and other materials for fall semester.

  9. Carpool: Finally, if everyone leaves in individual vehicles the combined burning of fossil fuels creates a lot of pollution. That’s why if enough students can travel with a minimum amount of possessions and are headed in similar directions, they should arrange carpooling or a special bus to take them home.

 

-Jakob Barry

Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for Networx.com. Networx.com helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to handymen and carpenters Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.

 

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Welcome to Hark Upon the Green! This blog is a shared space for members of the sustainability community at William & Mary to write about sustainability topics on and beyond. If you would like to contribute to the blog, contact Madeleine Boel, Committee on Sustainability Web Assistant, at mgboel@email.wm.edu.
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