By Amy Rudolph
College campuses can be hotbeds for waste. Students might think they don’t have time between classes, work, and extracurriculars to reduce their environmental impact of their choices. That’s wrong.
There are plenty of ways to be eco-friendly on campus without even thinking about it.
A simple way that we can all cut down on plastic waste is by switching to reusable water bottles. You can find them just about anywhere, from the bookstore, to the dollar store, to online sources where you can personalize the bottle with your initials or funky designs.
Using the refillable water bottle fountains on campus in Hodson Hall Commons or in the library, or really any water fountain, helps cut down on plastic water bottle waste. If you do find yourself buying bottled water, be sure to reuse the bottle so that it doesn’t just immediately get thrown away.
Another easy way to help our environment is by recycling as much as you can. Sometimes we have to buy plastic because there are no better alternatives. To combat this excess waste, we can recycle these products. Find a blue bin around campus for plastics and green bins for cardboard and paper. Getting a bad grade on an assignment might be bad for you, but recycling the paper it was written on can do a lot of good for the environment.
Another byproduct that we don’t think about is food waste. The Student Environmental Alliance has started composting initiatives in the Dining Hall in which they try to rework nutrients from our discarded food back into the ground. This compost is then used in the Campus Garden. The Campus Garden is a great way for students to become more in touch with nature and help give back to the earth.
In Chestertown students do plenty of walking. Our planet is really the lucky one because not all students have cars; through walking we are cutting down on gas and carbon emissions. As it gets colder and car use becomes more inevitable, car-pooling is a great alternative. Rather than having multiple people drive back and forth, making one trip will drastically reduce emissions.
If walking isn’t for you, especially in the colder weather, you can bike instead. Public Safety and the SGA have partnered for the Bike Share program, in which students can check out bikes at no cost to them.
One final way for students to help out the environment is through their electrical output. Buying eco-friendly light bulbs and remembering to turn off your lights and unplug your devices that you aren’t using is a simple but effective way to reduce your footprint. If you are walking past a room on campus that no one is in, feel free to flick the light off.
It is the simple and easy things that we forget about that can have a detrimental effect on the environment. Taking a minute or two out of your day to make conscious decisions for our environment can go a long way until it just becomes second nature.