In recent years, ENC has initiated a number of different efforts to be a more energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable campus, from installing solar panels on many of our buildings to changing the lighting system in the library. These are all great efforts in moving in the right direction, but there are also ways that individual students can contribute more to these efforts.

However, when it comes to “going green,” many college students hardly know where to start. So, here are six ways that a college student can become more sustainable:

  1. Take Notes Electronically

As simple as this sounds, taking notes electronically can save you a lot of money over a period of time, and your notes are kept neat and organized. You reduce the amount of paper and disposable, plastic pens used, while being eco-friendly.

  1. Utilize Reusable Bags

If students begin taking reusable bags to the store with them when they shop, we would avoid wasting enormous amounts of plastic that get thrown into the garbage over a lifetime. Take the bags to the school store, to the mall, anywhere where you will buy something.

  1. Nix Bottled Water

The Water Project notes, “U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone.”

Reuse old water bottles or purchase water bottles that you can refill instead of tossing out a bottle after you’ve drained it. This can reduce the amount of plastic bottles we have around campus. According to The Water Project, it’s estimated that up to 80 percent of water bottles in the United States never get recycled. In addition, it takes three times the amount of water that’s in a water bottle to create the bottle in the first place.

  1. Recycle

Around campus we have a number of different recycle bins, but they are rarely ever full. Recycling paper products and plastics or “upcycling” old items, can prevent tons of trash from ending up in a landfill.

  1. Save Power

Many times since we aren’t home and don’t have to think about the amount of power we are using, we can forget to power down. By simply turning off the lights and electronics we have while we are not in the room, we can save massive amounts of energy as a campus.

  1. Reduce Water Usage

According to Living Green and Saving Energy, “Using an average number of 2.5 gallons per minute from the typical shower head, reducing your shower length by 4 minutes per day would save (assuming you shower every day) 3,650 gallons per year.”

As students, we can be more mindful about turning off the water while brushing our teeth or taking shorter showers, thus saving gallons of water per year by making these small sacrifices.

You don’t have to know everything about being more sustainable, but all of these tips are incredibly easy to start implementing and can make a large difference on our campus.