10 Tips to Become a Green Student

Students today are using new and old tactics to make a difference in their communities and environments. By making small changes to their study habits, they have set a precedent for future students to follow.

To become a green student, follow these tips:

Go Green

1. Recycle and reuse old notes.
Students who take notes with pen and paper know that those pages pile up quickly. Once a notebook is filled and class is finished, there’s little use for the paper later. Don’t just stuff those pages in bins or drawers to be forgotten; recycle what you know you’ll never use again.

If you simply can’t part with your notes, scan the important pages so you can access them from your iPad or laptop. Or, you could reuse those old notebooks to create some fun artwork for your dorm room. Paint notebook covers with chalkboard paint and grab some chalk for a custom blackboard.

2. Test out your green thumb.
Not only are plants a good way to give your dorm room or apartment a green glow, they also create a calming environment for students. The Daily Green recommends students nurture a dwarf lemon tree, aloe vera, or African violets.

If you find you can’t keep up with plants like those, try cacti because they don’t require a ton of maintenance.

3. Embrace energy-saving computer settings.
Laptops allow you to unhook from the outlet and cut back on electricity use. Make sure you’re using these devices to their full advantage using their energy settings.

Boston University’s Sustainability Program recommends:

  • Keeping your screen saver on black—that means none of those fancy squiggles or pictures while you’re away.
  • Closing your laptop cover when you’re not using it to preserve power.
  • Letting your monitor sleep after about 10 minutes of no use. Computers deserve naps just as much as you.

Don’t forget to unplug your laptop charger from the wall when you’re not using it!

4. Quiz yourself online.
Why waste time, money and paper creating piles of flashcards or complex study guides? Lots of websites offer digital versions of these tools that will help make you a more eco-friendly student. Try out StudyBlue, Quizlet and Boundless for some online study options.

5. Cut back on snack waste.
When exams roll around, students often make hungry trips to the nearest convenience store and coffee shops and purchase enough fuel to chug through a cram session. The wrappers and cups from these refueling binges likely wind up forgotten in the garbage can.

Break out of this cycle. You know you’ll need to eat and drink while you study, so plan ahead.

The week before a big exam, make a trip to the grocery store to pick up study snacks in bulk, like nuts or dried fruit. Package up smaller amounts these snacks in reusable containers so you don’t have to buy lots of smaller packages in individual wrappers. Keep a reusable water bottle or thermos on hand for beverages.

6. Turn in assignments online.
If your professor allows it, turn in assignments online to cut back on your paper consumption. Professors can still mark up documents with corrections or comments using Google Document’s revision history setting.

For professors that insist on hard copies of your work, see if you can print on double-sided paper instead.

7. Reduce energy loss.
Invest in a power strip so you can plug in all your gadgets and shut off electricity to the cords when it’s not needed. Electricity is wasted by leaving cords plugged in to the outlet with no device attached or with one in standby mode.

If you’re not vigilant about unplugging your cords, invest in a smart strip.  A smart strip will cut off power to devices when they’re shut down or in standby.

8. Change your lightbulbs.
Switch out the lightbulbs in your desk lamp to eco-friendly versions called compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). These bulbs use less energy than a standard incandescent one and last much longer. You’ll save energy and money by making the switch.

Green lightbulb

9. Invest in green school supplies.
When you need school supplies like pens, tape and notebooks, look for eco-friendly versions. Try some of these:

  • Pens: Use corn pens that will disintegrate a year after they’re tossed away.
  • Notebooks: Look for notebooks made from recycled paper.
  • Paperclips: Purchase paper clips made from recycled steel to keep documents together.

10. Ditch the textbook.
Nothing about textbooks screams “eco-friendly.” Sure, you could rent or sell your books so more people could use them, but wouldn’t it be great if you could save some trees by giving up traditional textbooks entirely?

Several companies offer online versions of textbooks so students can make their study habits more green and save money. Boundless has free online textbooks for lots of popular introductory courses, like biology, communications, psychology, and several more. Flat World Knowledge, Amazon and Chegg have online options for loads of other courses, too.

This is a guest post by Jessica Owen, marketing associate and blogger at Boundless.

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