Updated: Nov 26, 2020
This week we talk about who university students can work to lead a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
By Allegra Pearl
Making eco-friendly decisions as a student might sometimes feel like just another chore, but we've got some easy tips to help incorporate green living into your life this semester.
#1 Get Involved on Campus
My first tip is to find a way to get involved on campus. One way to do this is to attend the "club days" which normally happen in the first few weeks of school. These events are commonly hosted at the beginning of each semester, giving students the opportunity to browse club options and get involved. With sustainability and environmental activism gaining more popularity, new environmental clubs are constantly popping up.
I go to the University of Guelph, and an event like this is exactly how I found out about a sustainability club on campus called Guelph Students for Environmental Change (GSEC). I decided to become a member in a sustainability club on campus called Guelph Students for Environmental Change (GSEC). Guelph we also have GSEC, Zero Waste Guelph, Guelph Greens, the Sustainability Office and Plant-Based at Guelph just to name a few. I highly recommend taking the time to research what environmental groups have chapters at your university and attend a meeting or two with an open mind.
Joining GSEC in 2018 was one of the best choices I made during university. Becoming a member of an environmental club provided me the opportunity to learn new information and make positive local change in my community. Over the years I got to participate in numerous events such as: herb planting workshops, climate protests, tours of the Guelph Waste Resource Innovation Centre, field trips to Green Legacy Nursery, Beeswax wrap tutorials, etc. The club connected me with likeminded people who have gone on to become some of my closest friends. It also helped me discover my passion and decide I'd like to pursue a career in sustainability.
#2 Come Prepared
There are a few things I always have on hand: my keys, my phone and my reusable coffee mug. If you don't already own one of these, I'd recommend investing in one, I've saved so many reusable coffee cups over the years. Do some research to find out which coffee shops nearby provide ethically sourced coffee and give them your business when you can! Especially during these times, it's important to support small businesses. A couple other things I like to keep on me is a utensil kit and glass Tupperware so I can enjoy a meal on campus without the plastic.
Tip: Don't feel like buying a bamboo utensil kit? Just make one at home. All you need is a metal knife, fork and spoon (and a metal straw if you'd like) and a cloth or small portable bag to put them in.
#3 Try Second-Hand
I recommend purchasing your textbooks second hand or simply using the course reserve section at the library as opposed to purchasing all new books. This is not only beneficial for the environment, but for your wallet too. Normally universities have school Facebook groups or local book stores where students sell back their textbooks, so before going out to purchase new books, make sure to have a look around!
#4 Buy in Bulk
My final zero-waste tip is buy in bulk! Do some research to see where the closest bulk grocery Going to a Bulk Barn or other bulk stores in your area with your own jars to purchase certain groceries in bulk. This helps reduce waste plastic waste and is a great way to save money on groceries. To learn more on how to eat plant-based on a budget, see my previous blog post here.
Even though it may seem hard at first, there are many ways one can go about leading a more sustainable life-style as a university student. The most important thing to remember is that every choice, big or small, still makes a difference. We hope these tips and tricks are helpful for any new students out there looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle! Let us know on our social media if you've got any other tips or tricks that you recommend.