by Holden Foreman '21
Welcome to Stanford! As an incoming frosh, I knew I was passionate about the environment and sustainability, but my first few weeks were so busy that I wasn’t sure where to start. Now, as a rising sophomore and a member of Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS), I’ve put together a list of the “Ten Things I Wish I Had Known About Living Sustainably on Stanford’s Campus (spoiler alert – you can save $ and earn $ in the process).
Before I begin, check out the very honorable mention below, which allows you to EARN PRIZES FOR BEING SUSTAINABLE!
Very Honorable Mention: My Cardinal Green
In addition to preserving the rich and lush environment surrounding us through performing sustainable actions, you can also enrich your wallet! In spring 2017, the Stanford Office of Sustainability launched My Cardinal Green, a sustainability platform that LITERALLY REWARDS YOU FOR LIVING SUSTAINABLY. Simply sign in with your SUNetID, take the survey and receive a customized list of recommendations and resources for how to reduce your environmental footprint. Not sure where to start or how to find the time? Not to worry: there are over 300 easy, quick actions you can take that actively reduce campus waste, save water, and conserve electricity, all while earning you points toward your $75 reward. Sign up now to start earning points for completing many of the actions listed below!
And now, let the list begin! (FYI we’ll be breaking this into a 2-part blog series since there is way too many good sustainability tips for just one post)
1. Paper is almost completely unnecessary for most courses. But many professors like to hand out papers. Make sure to only take what you will use and recycle when done. Also, old worksheets and handouts make for great scrap paper! Stanford’s campus is “littered” with recycling and compost bins, and February-March are designated waste reduction months as part of the annual RecycleMania competition. When you need to print, double-sided printing is your friend! Finally, sign up for a free waste training by emailing the Office of Sustainability for (you guessed it) MORE points in My Cardinal Green.
2. You can buy almost anything you need on Facebook USED (and for a steal, too)! Buying USED items in general is a great way to conserve.
All you need to do is join the Stanford Community on Facebook, and then you will have access to many groups, including “Textbook Exchange” and “Free & For Sale.”
Buying and selling items in groups such as these will not only save you money but will also keep perfectly useful books, supplies and even furniture out of the trash!
3. I brought a dorm mini refrigerator and left it unplugged for most of the year.
Dorm refrigerators are usually a waste of time and energy. If you do decide to bring one, you should always unplug it when not in use. At the very least, I would recommend coordinating with your roommate to make sure you do not have TWO refrigerators in one dorm. The dining halls will feed you well, plus, you can store food in a community refrigerator.
Stanford may be getting 68% of its electricity from renewable sources like solar, but that doesn’t make it any less important to practice what we preach and conserve energy. Turning off room lights, unplugging your mini fridge when not in use, and turning down your room’s thermostat are all key actions you can take to reduce your energy footprint – especially when you’ll be gone for more than a few days like during Winter Closure!
4. If you’ll be planning or hosting any events during the year, there is a free Green Event training program and student organization that will pick up leftovers from the event for you! Less trash and more donating!
The Cardinal Green Event Program will work with you for free to make sure your events are as sustainable as possible, plus you’ll earn points in My Cardinal Green for participating! Email email@example.com to schedule a session with the Office of Sustainability.
The Stanford Project on Hunger (SPOON) is a group that donates leftover food from campus events to local shelters. You can reach out to any SPOON member, including myself, and we will save leftover food from an event hosted by you or someone you know. Please reach out to me (email below) for any questions about the club and what we do!
Stay tuned for Pro Tips for Living Cardinal Green Part 2, coming your way soon!
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This is a forum for students to share their writing on intersectional environmental topics, curated by Students for a Sustainable Stanford. Writers of all backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives are welcome.