Five Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable in College

Small shifts to your everyday life that greatly benefit the world around you

It’s a sunny afternoon and you just got out of your last, strenuous class of the day. It’s only reasonable to reward yourself with a tasty Starbucks drink on your short drive home. In that trip that would seem average to most, multiple factors are causing a significant amount of harm to the environment. When keeping up with the fast-paced flow of the world, it can often become difficult to understand the easy things you can change to make the earth a better place. Here are some simple tips and tricks to start incorporating eco-friendly practices into your daily life.

1. Shop at nearby and independently run shops

When you support a local business, you’re supporting the community as a whole. Instead of buying from large corporations that import goods from far away, you can visit a nearby shop that procures their inventory from the local area. Then, the suppliers in that region can continue their work with a constant state of demand. Without you buying locally grown produce or handcrafted, these items are not in demand, which will result in job loss. Not only can these downfalls be seen in our community, but in the environment as well. When you buy from farther away, especially heavier and perishable items such as produce, you’re increasing your own carbon footprint.

2. Be mindful of portions in the dining hall

At buffet-style eateries, there is quite a variety of food options. It can become very tempting to load up as many plates as you can to be sure you tried everything. Those plates of leftovers after your meal are then disposed of, and ultimately wasted. A simple solution to this issue could be starting with one plate and grabbing more as needed. When doing this, it can be easier to gauge your food intake so you will produce far less food waste. The food that would have become garbage can now be enjoyed by someone else. As the ball keeps rolling, the staff won’t be required to make as much food, which also means they’re saving fuel and energy to cook.

Students around campus make attempts to recycle and compost when they can, given SUNY New Paltz’s resources. Photo by Imari Armstrong

3. Cruise around campus on your bike

A walk to town can seem like a trek across the world when it would be much faster to drive down the road. The inconsistent bus schedule is worth it if it means you won’t need to lug your groceries down main street. While there still is a bit more energy exerted when biking instead of driving, the reduced impact on the planet is substantial. Your bike isn’t a part of the large number of carbon emissions being released daily from cars . According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, roughly 19.5 pounds of CO2 are burned for every gallon of gasoline used. Those same emissions contribute to greenhouse gasses that raise the temperature of the planet. 

4. Find some fun and reusable products

Toss the single-use plastic water bottle and switch over to a reusable one. A transition as small as this will reduce your plastic waste, which is one step in the right direction towards saving the environment. You can also save some money with a bottle that you don’t need to replace every time you run out of water. This is just one example of exploring the use of reusable products. A reusable option can be found in most cases, so check out some products that you could see being beneficial to your life. New Paltz is also home to Second Nature Refillery, a store that prioritizes zero waste. Customers are encouraged to bring reusable items, such as jars or bags, to refill with necessary products. The shop carries a variety of goods ranging from hygienic products to ingredients. 

5. Seek out environmental activism groups on campus

By staying connected to others involved in the same cause, you can promote better living for yourself and others. You can learn from other students in our community and grow together as a group. People enjoy speaking about their passions, and that can foster a chance to form more connections. These groups will be able to give you individual advice to adhere to your situation as opposed to a general website that you can’t communicate with. We’ve provided a list of a few sustainable groups that are a part of SUNY New Paltz:


Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson is a 19-year-old journalism student studying at SUNY New Paltz. She has previously interned for Save Ancient Studies Alliance and is currently interning with the Office of Campus Sustainability at SUNY New Paltz. She aspires to work with a production team to write for documentaries.

Next Post

The Weekly Special - Hokkaido

Thu Nov 30 , 2023
For this week’s Weekly Special, we’re showcasing Hokkaido, located in the Village of New Paltz. Just off Main St. and far along the path of […]

You May Like


Twitter feed is not available at the moment.