When it comes to preparing for college, it’s easy to get quickly overwhelmed. You aren’t sure what classes to take, what to bring or what to buy before moving into your dorm. You’re afraid to clutter your room, but you don’t want to forget any essentials. Being environmentally conscious can make it easier to decide what you need and what you don’t, and from where you should get your necessities. From decorating your dorm to finding friends through involvement, it’s easy being green! Below are some tips to show you just how simple it is to be a green freshman.
For a list of what to bring, what to leave at home and other tips on being green, use IU's Green Packing Guide. Following this guide will make it much easier for you to certify your room through the Green Room Certification Program. Once certified, you’ll receive a certificate and a free reusable water bottle! Also, packing your items in reusable containers, such as under-the-bed plastic tubs, can help eliminate waste from cardboard boxes and provide extra storage in your dorm room.
Once you arrive on campus, check out the Hoosier-to-Hoosier sale to pick up all the items you need for your dorm! You can find almost anything at the sale, from clothes and decorations to furniture, electronics, storage containers and appliances. To eliminate any strange dorm smells, contemplate getting a plant to purify the air in your room instead of a toxic air freshener. Plants are also much more visibly appealing. When it comes to décor and style, try finding some old paintings, posters and other decorations at thrift stores and garage sales. You’ll save money AND the environment! Always try to use reusable shopping bags when shopping for your eco-friendly items!
There are plenty of transportation options available on campus, so really there is no need to bring a car during your first year on campus. Leaving your car at home helps cut back on pollution, plus you won’t have to deal with moving your car from the stadium for every home football and basketball game. If you live in or near Indianapolis, take advantage of our Campus Commute system and enjoy a nonstop service on a deluxe shuttle bus with Wi-Fi, DirecTV, reclining seats, electrical outlets and bathrooms! Tickets start as low as $7!
Once you arrive and get settled, start sustainable habits by conserving, recycling and going organic. Since you won’t have electric and water bills to pay, it might be difficult to realize how much you use each day. It’s easy to leave lights on and appliances plugged in, but try to shut down your laptop when you’re finished with homework, unplug your charger and use electrical appliances with a high energy star rating. Instead of throwing old notes, papers and food containers in the trash, try recycling them instead. Each dorm and food court has recycling bins available for your convenience! Avoid buying bottled water and highly packaged or processed foods. Instead, visit the Bloomington Community Farmer's Market on Saturdays from 8 AM-1 PM where you can find organic fresh fruits, vegetables and other locally grown items that you can easily store in your dorm.
One of the most fun and important parts of being sustainable is getting involved on campus. Attend the major events hosted by the Office of Sustainability such as Big Red Eats Green. Participate in the Energy Challenge, Greenest Floor Challenge and SustainIU Week. Enroll in sustainability related courses, and join one of the many student sustainability groups on campus. If you’re not sure about making a time commitment to a group, consider volunteering at the Campus Garden or Hoosier to Hoosier sale. Getting involved isn’t just for your resume. While working at events that strengthen sustainability at IU, you’ll be able to find people with similar interests and values and develop your own social circles. There are many other ways to get involved, all of which you can find at the Office of Sustainability's website! As students of higher education, we all should be aware of how our actions affect the environment. By following these simple tips, you can begin making a difference!