Living on campus? Here’s 8 simple ways to be green

Sustainability at CSU.

Hi future Rams, my name is Matt. I’m a second-year student studying Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and I’ve lived on campus for the past two years. CSU is rated one of the most sustainable universities in the world, so I wanted to drop some sustainability knowledge on you and share eight things that you can do to keep CSU green.

#1: Leave your car at home.

Sustainability tip ditch the car.

With all of the great alternative modes of transportation available at CSU, there’s no need to have a personal vehicle on campus. Many students opt instead to bring a bike. CSU and Fort Collins are top-rated spots for bikers; there are bike paths and parking galore. There’s even a student-run bike repair shop on campus called the SPOKE, which offers free hands-on learning opportunities for bike maintenance.

Additionally, all TransFort city buses like Around the Horn are included in your student fees; just use your RamCard. CSU also has Zip Car and Zagster locations around campus, allowing you to rent a bike or car for a brief period of time.

#2: Buy second-hand.

Buying previously-owned items like microwaves or lamps for your residence hall room is better on the planet — and your wallet. Check out CSU Surplus or your local thrift store for some great finds.

#3: Save your boxes and packaging from Move In.

Save your boxes.

Not only will you save all of that material from the landfill, you’ll also have boxes and packaging for when you move out at the end of the year.

If you can’t stand to hang on to those boxes until May, be responsible and recycle them appropriately. There will be cardboard corrals near your residence hall during Move In,  and cardboard recycling is always available in waste sorting areas on campus.

#4: Take part in Green Warrior during the fall semester.

Take part in Green Warrior.

Green Warrior is a campaign where you can pledge to make sustainable behavior changes like taking shorter showers or buying fair trade products. It’s a great tool to learn how you can live greener. You can also win sweet prizes. In previous years, prizes have included solar charging battery packs, bikes, and remote control power outlets.

#5: Use the reusable water bottle you’ll get at Move In.

Sustainability tips reusable water bottle

You’ll need to stay hydrated at Colorado’s high elevation. Reduce the amount of plastic water bottles being wasted by using the CSU reusable water bottle you’ll get at Move In, or by bringing your own. The CSU bottle can be used to get to-go drinks from the Dining Centers on campus as well.

#6: Reduce the amount of animal products you eat.

Carbon emissions created by the production of meat and dairy products are significantly higher than that of vegetables. Don’t want to cut out meat or dairy? You can still help out by looking for food in the Dining Centers labeled as a local product. Local food products require less transportation, resulting in a lower carbon footprint. The Dining Centers even have lettuce grown right here on campus. Learn more about nutrition and food labeling at CSU’s Dining Centers.

#7: Compost what food you can.

93% of food waste from the Dining Centers gets composted at CSU’s Foothills Campus, where it’s turned into fertilizer for university landscaping projects. Each Dining Center also has public access compost bins where you can drop off any of your compostable to-go containers and uneaten food scraps.

#8: Apply to be an Eco Leader.

Apply to be an Eco Leader.

As a past Eco Leader, I highly recommend that you fill out an application if you’ll be living on campus and are interested in sustainability. There are 19 Eco Leaders between the Residence Halls and Aggie Village. They learn about sustainability and promote sustainable living behavior on campus. It’s an opportunity to be able to learn about environmental responsibility.

Eco Leaders get a $1,000 housing stipend per semester as well as take a course through the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. You can apply to be a 2017 Eco Leader now.

Matt Diller.
Author: Matt Diller
Matt is a Sustainability Intern at CSU Housing and Dining Services. He is a second-year student in Warner College of Natural Resources. Matt is from St. Louis and has been living in Colorado since he started attending CSU in Fall of 2015. He is passionate about sustainability and playing the viola.