University Housing provides students an atmosphere for learning and living as they work toward educational goals. "Living lightly" in your campus home is part of living sustainably.
Living lightly on campus
Here's an RA Toolkit for our Residence Life staff to reference for programming, talking points and bulletine board materials.
The small things do add up. Change a light bulb, shorter showers, unplugging- it all counts. Whether you live on campus or off, small behavior changes that use less energy, produce less waste or help you live lightly on the planet make an impact.
- Be sure to replace all of your halogen and incandescent lights with compact fluorescent.
- That's a turn off. Not using it? Turn it off or unplug it. This includes your computer, TV, cell phone charger - all of those phantom loads. Your room will likely not have enough outlets for all your electronics so invest in a "smart" power strip. These will increase the number of outlets, provide surge protection and eliminate electricity waste from phantom loads.
- If you have a mini fridge, be sure it's Energy Star rated.
- Get your green on. Bring in a plant or two to your room - the benefits to your mood and health are worth the time it takes to water the plant.
- Report maintenance problems. Don't let a leaky window or radiator that won't shut off waste energy - or make you uncomfortable. Same goes for faucets or showers that drip, drip, drip. Tell your housing supervisor so the problem can be reported and fixed.
- Reusable water bottles are a must. Whether going to class or heading to the gym, fill up that reusable bottle with tap water. EPA tap water health regulations are much stricter than FDA bottled water regulations.
- BYOM. Buy your own mug to reuse at dining services or the local coffee shop.
- Keep the shower short! Every minute less you spend in the shower saves two gallons of water. The process of cleaning, supplying and heating water is energy intensive.
- Laundry day? Use greener laundry detergents that are plant-based and free of phosphates and wash with cold water.
- When hitting the books study under natural daylight. Throw open the blinds and pull a chair over to the window.
- When possible, submit papers and assignments electronically. When you do hit that print key consider printing double-sided or using the second side of scrap paper.
- Go trayless. Don't use a dining hall tray and you'll save on water used to clean them and will cut down on food waste (and help your waist).
A Guide to Recycling at UI
Leave your car at home and walk or bike. At the University of Iowa, it's easy to take public transit or Cambus. Using any form of alternative transportation is less expensive - for your budget and the environment - than driving alone every day. And, some Iowa City buses are equipped with handy bicycle racks.
What's in store
Students have a great deal of buying power. Before you purchase something think twice - do you really need it? When you do buy something, buy green - in bulk, eco-friendly products and Energy Star rated appliances. And read the label - look for third-party accreditation that assure items stand up to the claims on its packaging (Energy Star, USDA organics and fair trade certification).
Paper or plastic. Neither, thank you. Remember to bring your reusable shopping bag into the store.
Several environmentally-focused UI student groups are thriving on campus. Consider joining one or simply volunteer when the next opportunity arises.