Daily Tips for Living Green

Limit Your Energy Consumption
Oswego is a small campus, and you can easily walk from one side of campus to the other in under 20 minutes. If you live off campus, though, that may be a little harder for you to get to campus by walking. While many students live within a mile of campus, they still drive here. To try to encourage students to use less energy (as transportation accounts for SUNY Oswego's largest carbon emission contribution), the Student Association, in collaboration with Centro bus system and the school administration, garnered a deal to allow students to ride the buses for free. If you're commuting from within Oswego city limits, try taking the bus instead of driving. It will save you money on parking passes, and help cut down on the huge carbon emissions we add to the earth's atmosphere by driving our cars within city limits.

If you already live on campus, consider other ways to limit your energy consumption. To name a few, you can plug your electronics (computer, cell phone charger, speakers, TV, etc.) into to a power strip. Then, when you leave the room, you can just turn off the power strip and save energy, which little by little adds up to a lot of saved energy.

Here are some useful tips to help you consider energy use daily:
  • Do have the lights on when you could just use ambient light by opening up your blinds?
  • Did you turn off your power strip after leaving for classes? It takes one second to turn it off and one second to turn it back on, but in the mean time it says a lot of wattage!
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Not only do you get exercise, your actions, when multiplied by others, cut down significantly on energy use.
  • When you're in the dining hall, eat all of your food instead of discarding half of it because your eyes were bigger than your stomach. Also, try to cut down on using trays, because the more you have to carry, the less excess food you get that may end up in the trash. Or encourage your dining hall to go tray-less. Some campuses have already eliminated trays, which can reduce food waste up to 50 percent and save thousands of dollars in energy when trays don't need washing. And 79 percent of the 92,000 students surveyed by Aramark said they support trayless dining to reduce campus waste. Choose to go trayless to keep tons of food out of landfills because the food just sits inside plastic bags for years until it can get enough air to break down and compost.
  • Instead of printing e-mails or assignments on paper that you're just going to discard, mark it as important in Laker Apps mail or save the document onto your desktop so you can reference it easily but won't have to worry about printing.

Recycle everything, especially paper
The amount of paper a college student goes through per semester adds up -- between class notes, scrap copies, term papers, cover sheets, CTS pages, student newspapers, graphs and pictures printed out plus countless other random items. We know that these things can't be avoided, but the way you handle the use of all the paper can really help create a greener campus. Look for recycling bins by garbage bins, dorms, restaurants and classrooms.

Use your printer wisely
Teachers usually don't mind if they read papers that are printed using both sides of the paper. This is a huge way to save on paper. Also, to save ink, use the low quality settings on items that don't need to look too nice or that are just text. And think about what you're printing out. If you can show someone the website on a screen, do it. You don't need to print it out.

Limit the use of disposable cups and plates
Whether you live on campus or move into your first off-campus apartment, the temptation to buy disposable cups and plates is huge. However, this not only is bad for the environment, but it's bad for your student finances as well. Buy cheaper plastic plates and cups; one package usually has four sets which are generally enough for one set of roommates. Wash these by hand or throw them in the dishwasher if you have one (and remember to only run the washer when it is full to save water). In the dining halls, bring reusable coffee mugs and bottles instead of using the paper cups; even though they are compostable they actually don't get composted when they are thrown into the same plastic trash bags. They are only green when actually placed in a composting bin.

Limit the use of paper napkins
We're not telling you to eat cleaner, but we're telling you to not overdo it. Generally, a lot of fast food and takeout is eaten by college students, which means a lot of napkins get grabbed on the way out. Limit the amount you grab!

Use compact fluorescent light bulbs
This is a good bit of advice for those college students paying their own electric bills. These bulbs might be slightly more expensive than regular ones, but will decrease your energy intake, last longer and ultimately save you money. These are good for campus residences as well. Lamplight is a lot more pleasant and environmentally efficient than overhead lighting.

Buy green
Buy recycled goods as much as possible. Paper, cleaning products and water are products that can be purchased as a recycled good. They are slightly more expensive than the normal products, but it's worth it to make a green campus.

Use refillable binders instead of notebooks
This is a simple way to save waste. When the semester is done, you can take out your notes, staple and save, then use the binder for the next semester. If you really want to take an extra step to make your campus greener, use your laptop to take notes at class.

Carry a water bottle
Not only will this save the environment by decreasing the amount of plastic waste on your campus, but will also help keep you hydrated and your metabolism high. A water bottle can be refilled at any water fountain and can easily be drank in class, while riding a bike or engaging in other activities.

Buy used clothing
Usually thought of as something to do to save money, it is also good for the environment! Recycling clothes minimizes the use of resources to make clothing and puts a dent in the problem of worldwide sweatshops. There are several places to shop for used clothes, including Thrifty Shopper on East Bridge Street.