While it’s often a difficult task to get corporations and governments to implement new programs that eliminate waste, reduce energy usage and protect the environment, college campuses continue to push forward with new initiatives and students feel such systems should exist everywhere.
Virtually every college campus in the developed world has programs in place to help protect the environment, and with all the people that go in and around the campus, this is not only necessary to keep the area clean and presentable, but has become a fundamental part of the educational process.
In this guest post, Louise Baker provides an overview of five key areas that colleges and universities focus on to do their part in keeping the environment healthy while educating a new generation on the critical topics of ecology and sustainability.
On most campuses, there is a recycling bin right next to every garbage can. This makes it very convenient for students to drop their recyclable bottles and cans into the recycling bin rather than the garbage. There are locations in classrooms, dining areas, and dormitories where students can recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, and even ink cartridges.
Pace University in New York not only follows this practice, but they also publish the GreenLaw Blog of the Pace Environmental Law Programs.
The vast majority of campuses use computers rather than paper to communicate with students, process applications, and handle all other administrative processes. Most colleges don’t even have a paper admission application available anymore, and nearly everything is done online through computers or mobile devices such as iPads.
Students pay their tuition online, upload and download documents online, submit homework online, and hundreds of other things. This saves paper, allowing for a decrease in the number of trees consumed. Colleges highly engaged in electronic processes include Boston College and New York Institute of Technology.
Nearly every college campus has buses and other methods of transportation to get students to where they need to go, and if students have these options available, fewer choose to drive cars. Campuses also tend to use safer and more eco-friendly fuel options to run their buses. Stony Brook University is a school with a great transportation system.
Used Textbook Programs
Campus bookstores provide used copies of textbooks for students to purchase, and at the end of each semester, students are allowed to sell their books back to the bookstore for use in the next semester. With students using pre-owned textbooks, fewer new textbooks need to be made. This, in turn, saves paper. Campus libraries also have textbooks available so students may not need to buy the books at all.
The bookstore in The Art Institute of California currently sells used textbooks, while student backpacks at Southwest Career College are much lighter than in the past, as educators at the college have replaced traditional textbooks with the latest in electronic toys — the iPad.
Electricity and Water
On many campuses lights turn on only when someone’s in the room. After a few minutes of an empty room, lights automatically turn off. They also use light bulbs that are designed to last longer in order to decrease the number of times the light needs to be changed. Campuses such as Northland College in Wisconsin now have water filter systems to improve the quality of water.
Louise Baker is a freelance blogger and journalist who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online degrees. She most recently wrote about the best online nursing schools.