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5 Affordable Steps to Make a College Campus More Eco-Friendly

Affordable Steps to Enhance a College Campus Sustainability Program

  • Initiate a Recycling Program
  • Start Composting
  • Install Water Bottle Refill Stations
  • Provide Ongoing Sustainability Education for Students
  • Revamp College Endowment Investment Practices

The various cohorts that make up a typical college or university community tend to be more in tune with environmental issues like global climate change and sustainability practices than is the broader general population. Consequently, those that make up a college community oftentimes desire to broaden an institution’s eco-friendly practices. These are affordable steps to take to enhance a college’s environmental sustainability.

Related resource: 50 Great Affordable Eco-Friendly Colleges

1. Initiate a Recycling Program

If a college has yet to initiate a recycling program, the time has arrived to do so. If a college started a recycling effort at some point in the past, perhaps the time has arrived to expand it.

A key way in which a school can launch or redouble its recycling efforts is to place appropriate recycling bins and containers throughout campus. The bottom line is that a typical college student or faculty member is more apt to regularly recycle when on campus when doing so is convenient.

Placing bins and containers in more campus locations need not be a costly endeavor. Indeed, a good many local waste disposal companies will provide recycling bin and containers to their customers at no charge.

2. Start Composting

Another affordable step that can be taken to make a college campus more eco-friendly s to compost. The typical college or university foodservice operation generates what fairly can be said to be a considerable amount of compostable material each and every day.

The costs associated with starting to compost are minimal. The primary initial costs are construction or placing appropriate composting receptacles and training staff and student workers on how to compost properly.

3. Install Water Bottle Refill Stations

A major contributor to global pollution are plastic bottles, including plastic water bottles. Once again, the issue of convenience is the primary reason why college students and faculty members tend to gravitate to plastic water bottles.

When a college makes the effort to install water bottle refill stations in prime locations on campus, the number of plastic water bottles disposed on a daily basis decreases, and oftentimes significantly so. In many instances, the initial cost of placing water bottle refill stations around campus can be minimized by adapting existing water fountains already in place.

4. Provide Ongoing Sustainability Education for Students

Young people in college settings tend to be highly interested in environmental sustainability. What they oftentimes lack is a clearer sense of direction of how they can contribute to making a campus more eco-friendly.

Another affordable tactic is to provide ongoing sustainability education to college and university students. This training or education can begin as part of the first-semester orientation process, with regular updates throughout a student’s time on campus.

5. Revamp College Endowment Investment Practices

Beginning in the past decade, a growing number of colleges and universities began rethinking their endowment investment practices. Some institutions have pulled their investments out of companies that deny or dispute the reality of global warming. Other colleges and universities have begun divesting from enterprises like oil and gas companies and reinvesting into more environmentally friendly companies.

U.S. News & World Report has developed something of a reputation for rating colleges and universities in regard to their academic programs. More recently, the magazine has identified the 10 most environmentally friendly college campuses in the United States. This focus underscores that making campuses more eco-friendly is becoming an ever more important endeavor.