advice

Political Activism for College Students

Despite making up more than half of the population, young adults (ages 18-30) often find themselves marginalized from mainstream politics and decision making. 

When given an opportunity to organize, voice our opinions and play a meaningful role in political decision making, young adults consistently demonstrate our willingness and ability to foster positive, lasting change. We also become more likely to demand and defend democracy, and gain a greater sense of belonging.

College campuses provide a multitude of opportunities for young adults to interact with diverse populations, exchange ideas, join organizations, and develop skills to think critically about the world we live in.

No matter your political viewpoint or worldview, it’s important to exercise your civic rights and stand for the messages you believe are worth it. Here are the 5 best tips for getting involved in politics as a college student: 

  1. Educate Yourself

Before you get into politics, you should know what you’re talking about and be able to hold an intelligent and thoughtful conversation about the issues. 

Read your local newspaper. Then read your state newspapers. Then read national publications: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and more. Whatever you can get access to, read it; with so many magazines and papers being published online now, accessibility has never been easier.

Start by picking a few topics that you care about or find interesting. They can be broad topics like foreign policy or immigration or more narrow topics like art education in public schools. One nice thing about democracy is that you choose what’s important to you. 

The next step is to learn about the structure of government. Which parts of the government are responsible for making and executing the decisions you care about?

It’s important to know who your local legislators and politicians are. First, find your House Representative, and enter your address to find a full list of your elected officials

Once you know who your elected officials are, talk to them! Tell them what’s on your mind: what concerns you, what you expect of them, what makes you proud to live in your state. Their job is to listen to you, so reach out frequently and respectfully to voice your opinions.

Here are some general guidelines on how to contact your elected officials

Once you start gathering information, share that knowledge! Have discussions with your friends and family. Engage in respectful debate when appropriate. Spread the word.

  1. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! 

Voting is the most fundamental form of civic engagement in a democracy. This is the easiest and most effective way for anybody to make a difference. 

First, and most importantly: check your voter registration status in your state. If you aren’t already registered, make sure you REGISTER TO VOTE!

Registering to vote is a relatively simple process, and can be done in a few different ways. In general, registrants will need to fill out a form and provide some type of approved ID, like a driver’s license. A social security card or number may also be required.

  • In person: Especially during election season, students will find plenty of opportunities to register to vote in person. Often, canvassers walk around campus with registration forms and can help you fill them out. Otherwise, you can register to vote at your state or local election office, the DMV, armed services recruitment centers or public assistance offices.
  • Online: Online registration is available in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Vote.gov can help you determine if online registration is available in your state and, if so, direct you to the right form.
  • By mail: Students can pick up a registration form in person or download one from your state’s voting website, fill it out and mail it in with any other necessary documents.

When registering to vote, you can select a political party affiliation. While you may choose not to affiliate with any of the major political parties, it may prevent you from being able to participate in caucuses and primary elections. Closed primaries are generally reserved for members of the Democratic and Republican parties to determine the candidate that will represent each group in the main election.

If you’re not sure whether to consider yourself a Democrat or Republican, that’s okay! The Pew Research Center offers a Political Party Quiz to help determine where you stand on important issues. 

The next step is to learn your state’s voting laws. College students living outside of their home state may register to vote in either the state of their school or in their official state of residence. 

If you choose to register in your state of residence, you must register to vote in that state and request an absentee ballot for your state to be sent to your University postal address.

The Fair Elections Center offers an annually updated guide to each state’s voting laws. A quick Google search should turn up the website for your state’s secretary of state, who often serves as the chief election official. These websites include information on election dates, absentee voting and other issues. 

Another great resource for educating yourself on the voting process is Rock the Vote, which is geared toward helping young people vote and provides all the information needed to vote in each state. 

If you want to vote on Election Day, come up with a plan to make sure you’re going to the right polling place, and going when it’s open. This might mean going early in the morning, between classes, or at the end of the day. Even better, share your plan to others, in person or on social media, to help you stay accountable.

Take it one step further by hosting a voter registration on campus to inspire your peers. Here is a comprehensive guide to hosting your very own Voter Registration event

  1. Join a Student Organization

Discovering an organization in which to align your political ideals is a great way to start getting involved quickly. They already have an established power structure, goals, a way to execute their plans and a pool of resources that an individual may not possess on their own. 

There are generally political organizations on campus that cover the entire political spectrum, from liberal to conservative and everything in between. Most schools will have a registry, as well as a description of the group, posted online for other students to get involved. Keeping your eye out for groups that host tabling events, post flyers and are active on campus is the best way to find one without actively looking. Below are two organizations that are available to college students: 

College Republican National Committee

Find a College Republican Chapter in your state. 

Young Democrats of America

Learn more about this youth-led political organization

  1. Participate in or Organize Political Rallies

Don’t be afraid to advocate for a political issue that’s important to you. As a college student, you may be unsure about your political affiliation, but likely, you feel strongly about a variety of topics. Join a rally or march to add your voice to the choir. Or, if you want to be an organizer, hold your own awareness-raising event. 

Once you determine a pressing issue, learn all you can about it. Look for other students or community members that feel the same way. Work together to plan an event that will spread the word about your issue. Chanting, sign-holding and marching at an event might feel uncomfortable, but they’re powerful ways to get attention for your cause. If you have something bigger in mind, contact state or national groups that might be willing to help you out.

However, before you start protesting – learn the basics and take note of any important details. The American Civil Liberties Union’s guide to protesting rights will let you look up your state’s permit requirements and other prerequisites.

  1. Volunteer on a Political Campaign

Every political campaign – whether it be for your local school board, a state legislature, or Congress – needs hard workers, people serving as the boots on the ground.

Volunteering on a campaign can mean making phone calls (known as phone banking), sending text messages, or canvassing door-to-door to advocate for a political candidate. Every election cycle, campaigns rely on “on the ground” volunteers to spread grassroots enthusiasm about their candidate and their cause.

In the United States, the most popular form of volunteering tends to be for presidential campaigns, but the presidency is hardly the only office in American politics. First-time volunteers might find their time is more effectively spent advocating for local representatives, whose policies more directly affect their day-to-day lives.

In conclusion, the best place to start getting politically active is within your own mind, forming opinions and values based upon your experience and the shared truth of others. 

5 First Steps to Political Involvement in College 

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Vote!
  3. Join a Student Organization
  4. Participate in or Organize Political Rallies
  5. Volunteer on a Political Campaign

No matter what your motivation is to get active, it’s important that you do. Without exercising your right to assemble and petition the government, nothing will ever change. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum or whom you vote for, what matters is not being a passive citizen, but rather an active one that strives for better.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-participate-in-government
  2. https://advocatesforyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Youth-Activist-Toolkit.pdf 
  3. https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/student-activism-on-campus/
  4. https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/promoting-student-political-engagement-and-awareness-university
  5. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-voting-guide/#test2

When Should I Buy My College Textbooks?

This is a question that is often asked by first-time college students. Being a new college student can be overwhelming and intimidating. On top of adjusting to a new environment and navigating campus is the task of buying textbooks. For most incoming freshmen, this is a completely new experience. One of the biggest stressors when it comes to buying textbooks for the first time is not knowing the right time to purchase. Many students are left wondering, “When is the best time to buy textbooks?”

When to Order Textbooks

There is no exact “right” time to buy college textbooks, which can make the process a little more confusing for first-time buyers. When starting the process of buying college textbooks, a good rule of thumb is to wait until all syllabi are received with all required course materials listed. 

Do You Have to Buy Textbooks Before Class Starts?

Unless you are required to complete an assignment or reading prior to the beginning of a course, it doesn’t hurt to wait until the first day of class to purchase textbooks. On the first day of class,  most instructors will confirm which materials are provided and if there are any additional items that are needed that might have been left off of the syllabus. Sometimes professors will provide digital copies of required readings that are listed in the syllabus so that students do not have to purchase the whole book.

If you’re still asking yourself the question “What books do I need for college?” after reading the syllabus and attending the first day of class, reach out to your instructor(s) and they will confirm what is needed for their course. It never hurts to double check with your instructor so you can be sure you are getting everything that is required for success in the course.

In addition to buying textbooks outright, college students also have the ability to rent most textbooks at a cheaper price; however, this concept can be a little bit confusing for someone who has never rented a textbook before.

How Does Renting Textbooks Work?

Renting textbooks is actually pretty similar to renting a DVD or sports equipment. Once you’re done with it or your rental period is over you simply return it to the seller. An important thing to remember when it comes to renting textbooks is that most sellers will expect that the book is returned to them in a timely manner and in fairly good condition.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent Textbooks?

It’s no secret that most college students will do whatever they can to save money. For some, renting textbooks is a great way to save some money on what can be a pretty costly expense. According to Robert Farrington, the founder of The College Investor, “Renting textbooks is such a great deal because you can typically save 70% to 90% compared to buying the book new, and 50% or more compared to buying the book used.” 

The College Board estimates that the average college student will spend $1,200 (at least) on textbooks per year. Renting textbooks whenever it is convenient for you will help you save some of that money in the long run. Aside from your college bookstore, there are several sites online that make it easy for you to rent textbooks at reduced prices.

Is Renting Textbooks a Good Idea?

Renting textbooks is a great option that will help you save some money; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for everyone. Before diving head first into renting all your textbooks, it’s important to think about your individual learning style and if it’s compatible with renting textbooks.

Here are a few things to consider before renting your textbooks:

1. Your Learning Style

Everyone has their own study habits that fit their style of learning. While some students can read material and remember concepts with minimal note taking, others prefer to take notes and highlight important details. The disadvantage of renting a textbook is that some rental services limit how much can be written, marked, or highlighted in the book. It is also a possibility that some services will expect the book to be returned with no markings and in pretty good condition. 

If you are someone who likes to mark up a book or is hard on your textbooks, renting might not be the best option in the long run.

2. Long Term Use

While not every textbook you will use during college will be useful at a later date, it is a possibility that as you progress through your major course work you might need a book again. If you have a feeling that a certain book might be useful to you at a later date, it might be better to buy the book just in case.

3. Terms & Conditions of Rental Agreement

Before deciding to purchase your rentals, make sure to read all of the fine print and the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. In some cases, companies will charge late fees for rentals that are not returned on time. If you are not sure you will be able to return the book by the specified date, you should consider buying the book so you don’t have to worry about the extra late fees that can add up. Some companies might also charge for damages to the book, so if you are someone who tends to put a lot of wear and tear on a textbook it is worth it to consider buying the book. Most books you purchase can be sold back at the end of the semester.

Are Buying Books Worth It?

The price of textbooks is enough to make any college student wonder if it’s something they’ll actually need. Even if you don’t end up using your books a ton throughout the semester, it’s still worth it to have them handy just in case. Textbooks are an essential resource for many students and some assignments can’t be completed without them.

For more information on buying textbooks, check out our previous blog post about the Best Sites to Buy College Textbooks.

When it’s time to buy (or rent) your textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered. With 4.0 stars on Trustpilot, eCampus.com is the most trusted bookseller among the student community. You can save up to 90% on Textbook Rentals, Used & New Textbooks, and eTextbooks. eCampus.com also offers a great rewards program (eWards) that is designed to make it easier for students to save money by earning rewards and exclusive deals.

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References

  1. https://www.cappex.com/articles/college-life/textbooks-rent-or-buy
  2. https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/save-on-college-textbooks#:~:text=%E2%80%9CRenting%20textbooks%20is%20such%20a,founder%20of%20The%20College%20Investor.
  3. https://money.com/college-textbooks-how-to-save-rent-lowest-prices/#:~:text=Rent%20Textbooks%20Instead%20of%20Buying%20Them&text=Renting%20can%20go%20a%20long,book%20costs%20%2437.49%20to%20rent.
  4. https://www.textbooksolutions.com/how-textbook-rentals-work.aspx#:~:text=When%20you%20rent%20a%20textbook,using%20a%20free%20shipping%20label!

7 Tips for Conquering College Stress

College is an exciting time, full of new challenges that drive you to expand your horizons. While some of these experiences can be thrilling, others may leave you feeling stressed.

Just as everyone experiences stress in their own way, we all have our preferred methods of coping with it. However, not all stress management strategies are healthy, and some may leave you feeling even worse than you did before.

Being able to manage stress is crucial for your academic success and personal well-being in college. After all, you can’t control the stressors in your life, but you can choose how to respond to them.

What Is Stress?

Stress is a normal and necessary part of life. It is your fight-or-flight response to challenges you see in the world. This natural reaction has certain physical effects on the body to allow you to better handle these challenges, such as increased heart rate and blood circulation. 

According to the American Psychological Association, there are three types of stress: acute, episodic acute, and chronic.

Effects of Stress on College Students

Stress affects your entire body, mentally as well as physically. There are four primary types of symptoms of stress: physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. 

Some common signs of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea 
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating

Managing Stress in College

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief. What works for one person might not work for another – so it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. 

How to Stop Stressing Out: Seven Tips for Conquering Stress in College

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Many college students find it difficult to get enough sleep because of busy schedules, late-night excitement, or stress. However, time and time again research supports the importance of sleep – for memory consolidation and recall, increasing learning abilities, energy conservation, muscle growth, and tissue repair, just to name a few.

Plus, insufficient sleep can put you at risk for serious illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. Adults typically need seven to nine hours of sleep a night for best health.

  1. Eat Well

While fast food and junk food are cheap and convenient, they don’t set you up to do your best. How does eating healthy reduce stress?  When you eat healthy, you supply your body with the nutrition it needs to fight stress. Try to avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, and limit (or eliminate) the use of stimulants like caffeine, which can elevate the stress response in your body.

Be sure to keep your dorm room or apartment stocked with a few fresh fruits and veggies, and high-protein snacks, and be sure that your main meals are healthy and balanced.

  1. Exercise

One of the best coping skills for college students, which can also combat weight gain and frustration, is to get regular exercise. Exercise produces endorphins, the “feel good” chemical that acts as a natural painkiller.

Knowing how to properly work out and making time for it can be challenging. However, there are many ways to engage in physical activity – like going to the gym, attending fitness classes, swimming laps, jogging, playing basketball or another sport you enjoy, or doing yoga. 

You can also add in some simple modifications to your day to increase physical activity without having to go to the gym or play a sport. Try walking rather than taking the bus, getting off a bus early and walking the rest of the way, using stairs rather than elevators, biking, parking farther in a parking lot, etc. 

Even if you’re only able to work out in 10-minute increments, exercise can elevate your mood, release tension, and help keep your body (and mind) healthy.

  1. Build a Support System

Having supportive people in your life is the key to stress management. Surround yourself with family and friends who uplift you, encourage you, listen without judgement, and can provide sound perspective. 

Some friends or family members may be good at listening and sympathizing. Others might excel at practical help, like bringing over a home-cooked meal or helping with child care.

You may need to expand your network. Join an organization, attend a support group, or get professional help if you lack supportive people in your life.

  1. Have an Outlet

Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy; research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.

Your schedule may be filled with lectures and study groups, but try to find at least a couple of hours each week to pursue a hobby or other activity that you enjoy. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs!

Building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.

  1. Practice Relaxation Techniques 

Pace yourself throughout the day, taking regular breaks from work or other structured activities. During breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind.

Meditation is a simple way to reduce stress that you can do any place at any time. Begin with simple techniques such as deep breathing, guided meditation, or repeating a mantra. 

Deep-breathing exercises can help melt away tension. Try this exercise: Inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for three seconds, then exhale through your mouth, and repeat as needed. This helps prevent the short, shallow breaths that often accompany feelings of tension.

  1. Get Professional Help

Everybody needs help from time to time. If you find it especially difficult to adjust to the changes or ongoing challenges of college life, your campus likely has resources to help. Reach out to:

  • Your college or university’s counseling services
  • Your student advisor or a resident assistant
  • A doctor or therapist

In college, stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Do your best to understand what kind of stress you’re feeling, what’s causing it, and how you can respond to it productively. By addressing your stress in a healthy way, you are doing all that you can to make the most of your college education.
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/ 
  2. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Taking-Care-of-Your-Body/Managing-Stress
  3. https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/balancing-stress/
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195

How to Buy Textbooks for a College Student

With back to school season right around the corner, many parents of college students are finding themselves with long to-do lists and several new things to buy. This can be a stressful and expensive time for many parents and guardians as they prepare to send their students to campus. 

Every parent wants to make sure that their student has enough resources to help them succeed. One essential resource to the success of any college student is textbooks. However, if you are new to the textbook buying process, it can seem a little intimidating. 

When to Buy College Textbooks

A good rule of thumb to follow when purchasing textbooks is to wait until your student receives their syllabus with all outlined course materials. Unless a student is required to complete an assignment or reading prior to the beginning of a course, it is good to wait until the first day of class to purchase textbooks. This will allow students to confirm which materials are provided and if there are any additional items needed that aren’t on the syllabus. Sometimes professors will provide digital copies of required readings that are listed in the syllabus so that students do not have to purchase the whole book.

While there is no exact right time to purchase textbooks, it’s important to pay attention to assignment dates that might require the use of a textbook. Assignment due dates and course timelines should be listed in the syllabus. This is a  good reference to use when buying textbooks to make sure the purchased course materials  will arrive in time to complete outstanding assignments. 

Do Textbooks Come with Access Codes?

Over the last several years, digital learning and online course materials have gained a lot of popularity among college professors and departments. You may find that some of your student’s course materials require the purchase of an access code or an access code accompanies the physical textbook. An access code is like a password that students use to access course content online. The online content will depend on the course and to what extent the professor utilizes the online resources. The important thing to note is that an access code is not the same thing as a textbook.

If a student needs an access code for their course in addition to a textbook, here are a few thing to keep in mind:

  1. Not all textbooks come with access codes

When it’s time to buy a textbook and access code a student generally has a few options. They can either purchase a textbook that has an access code or they can purchase an access code separately. It is important to make sure that the textbook that is being purchased clearly states that it includes an access code.

  1. Used textbooks do not come with access codes

It is safe to assume that any access code that comes inside of a used textbook has already been used. Unless a student purchases a bundle that includes a used book and a separate access code, they will need to buy an individual access code.

  1. Some access codes can be bought online

In some cases, access codes or access to the course site can be bought directly online from the product or publisher website.

  1. Access codes don’t always last forever

The duration that an access code lasts can vary. Because of this, be sure your access code satisfies the duration that your student will need it. Typically, access codes last between 6-24 months.

  1. Most access codes can’t be returned

The unfortunate truth is that most access codes cannot be returned after they’re purchased.  It’s advisable to read the terms and conditions provided by the publisher of the access code to gain an understanding of their return policies. Once again, this gives another reason to ensure that your student requires the access code.

If a student is unsure if they need an access code for their course or not, it is always a good idea to double check with the instructor.

Searching For Textbooks: Do I Use ISBN 10 or 13?

A student’s syllabus typically contains the title of the book that is needed and the ISBN for that book. An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10-digit or 13-digit number used to give every book its own identification label. You may be unsure of a book’s full title, author, or year published, but if you know its ISBN, you can be sure you’ve got the right book. The ISBN is a 10 or 13 digit number found on the back cover next to the barcode. Sometimes it can also be found near the copyright page by publisher information.

Where to Find Textbooks Online

The campus bookstore might seem like the most convenient place to buy textbooks, but did you know that you could save some serious money by purchasing textbooks online? There are tons of sites, including Amazon, that make it easy for you to purchase course materials online.

When purchasing textbooks online it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. It’s easy for a site to claim they’re giving you the best deal, so you might want to do some research before making a purchase.

Also Consider: Textbook Price Comparison Sites/Services

  • eCampus.com Marketplace: In addition to offering you great discounts on used, new, and rental items, we make it easy for you to compare prices from 70,000+ marketplace sellers! Just find the book you want and click “See Prices” next to the Marketplace option.
  • We also conducted thorough research and have come up with a list of our favorite textbook price comparison sites that can help you find the best deals on your textbooks. Simply search for the ISBN you’re looking for and these sites will scour the internet for the best prices available. Here are some of the the options that we found the most helpful:

For more information on buying textbooks online, check out our previous blog post about the best sites to buy college textbooks.

If you’re wondering where to buy cheap textbooks online, eCampus.com is always a great option. With 4.0 stars on Trustpilot, eCampus.com is the most trusted bookseller among the student community. You can save up to 90% on Textbook Rentals, Used & New Textbooks, and eTextbooks. eCampus.com also offers a great rewards program (eWards) that can make it easier for students to save money by earning rewards and exclusive deals.

Whenever it’s  time to start buying course materials for your college student, we hope that this has given you more information on the buying process. If you have other questions, our experienced team of customer service agents can help guide you through phone or chat. 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References

  1. https://blog.ecampus.com/best-sites-to-buy-college-textbooks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-sites-to-buy-college-textbooks
  2. https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/majors-and-academics/blog/essential-college-textbook-hacks/#:~:text=Generally%2C%20wait%20until%20you%20go,before%20buying%20all%20required%20readings.
  3. https://www.collegeparentcentral.com/2014/04/does-your-college-student-need-textbooks/
  4. https://help.pearsoncmg.com/rumba/mylab_mastering_self-reg/en-en/Content/mm_access_code.html
  5. https://www.lakelandcc.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=a9a198c0-0779-4ad0-98b7-3b903d366262&groupId=427619&filename=access_code_faqs.pdf
  6. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/01/why-students-are-still-spending-so-much-for-college-textbooks/551639/
  7. https://thecollegeinvestor.com/19838/buy-college-textbooks-online/
  8. https://webassign.com/support/student-support/access-codes/

How to “Go Green” in College

One of the biggest challenges that we’re facing today is the environmental danger to our planet. Global warming, climate change, and plastic pollution have become topics we hear about regularly in the news. 

By developing sustainable habits early, you can help to reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint to make a less harmful impact on the environment.

What Does Go Green Mean? 

“Going green” means to pursue knowledge and practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles. Going green can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.

Ways to Go Green 

Adopting a greener approach to life doesn’t have to be difficult. There are small changes you can implement into your daily life that take little to no time or effort and can help create a healthier society that both consumes less and produces less waste. 

Here are 7 easy ways you can live sustainably (greener) in college:

  1. Ditch Single-Use Plastic for Eco-Friendly Products

This is one small, but hugely impactful step that you can take to reduce the strain the environment caused by plastics. Single-use utensils, plates, boxes and containers are all around us, especially in college.

Make a point to replace single-use plastic products with their reusable equivalents. For example, purchase a reusable BPA-free water bottle.

According to The Water Project, it’s estimated that up to 80 percent of plastic water bottles in the United States never get recycled. In addition, it takes three times the amount of water that’s in a water bottle to create the bottle in the first place! The Water Project also notes that U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. 

The same goes for disposable coffee cups. Though it may be more convenient, those waxed paper cups aren’t recyclable, and will just end up in the landfill after you’re done with them. So carry a second bottle or reusable mug with you for your hot beverages – some places even offer a discount on your order for opting out of the cup.

Similar to the plastic water bottles, plastic bags are non-biodegradable objects. Consider switching to a reusable bag, often made from organic materials such as cotton, wool and hemp. 

With some states charging for plastic bags, reusable tote bags have become an excellent substitute, as they are cheaper in the long run. These bags can also be more spacious and stronger than plastic bags! Don’t stop there – eco-friendly products for college students are readily available. 

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! 

Recycling is the cornerstone of caring for the environment through a daily habit.

Most colleges have recycling bins scattered around the campus, so find the closest one to you and regularly visit the bin and recycle your stacks of paper. If you don’t have access to a recycling bin, contact your administration and find out where the nearest drop-off is – and encourage them to install more blue bins around campus while you’re at it.

You know the old saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Well, it is often true. Don’t throw away perfectly good things just because you’re sick of them, or no longer have use for them. You can host clothing swaps with friends, or give your unwanted, gently used clothing and furniture another life by donating or selling them instead of throwing them away.

Upcycling is a creative way to make old items into something more valuable. This could be reusing a jam jar as a candle holder, or using old tins as plant pots – the possibilities are endless! If you’re not sure how to start, there are numerous websites, blogs and forums where you can pick up interesting ideas for breathing new life into your old, used objects.

  1. Watch Your Water Usage 

Remember that old adage, “save some for the fish?” You can do this in your daily life by turning off water while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving. 

In addition, cutting down your shower time can save more water and make a bigger impact than you’d think. It’s estimated that, using an average number of 2.5 gallons per minute from the typical shower head, reducing your shower length by 4 minutes per day would save 3,650 gallons per year. 

  1. Cut Down on Paper 

Think about how much paper you use during the semester – class notes, assignments, tests, and so on.

Cutting paper usage is one of the main areas where college students can save money and the environment. The less you need to restock your paper supplies, the better. A few simple tips to get started:

  • Always use the front and back of your paper when writing notes 
  • Avoid taking handfuls of paper napkins from the cafeteria
  • Clean up spills using a dish cloth instead of a paper towel
  • When printing, save misprints by always double checking the document you’re printing
  • If you do make a mistake, either recycle the paper or use the back for scrap paper for notes, writing down ideas, etc
  • For those who write notes on paper, make a point to buy recycled material notebooks 
  1. Mind Your Transportation 

Transportation is considered to be one of the main contributors to climate change and carbon emissions. That’s why you can choose to use environment-friendly transportation means as a college student – like walking or riding a bike. 

Bikeshare programs are becoming more common, both on campuses and off. Find out whether your school has such a program. If not, there may be another local option, or you may want to get involved in setting the wheels in motion for a bikeshare initiative at your campus. Walking or riding a bike helps reduce carbon emissions and keeps you in great shape, too! 

  1. Always Power Down

Our chargers and small appliances suck up standby power even when not in use. To cut down on wasted electricity, when you’re not using appliances or you leave the room – be sure to turn off lights and other electronics. An easy way to implement this is by connecting your electronics to a surge protector and flipping the switch when you leave the room. Also, your electric bill will thank you!

Bonus tip: try using energy-efficient light bulbs instead of regular bulbs. They last longer, which will save you a bit of money too.

  1. Meatless Monday

Did you know that raising and preparing meat produces between 10 and 40 times more greenhouse gas emissions than growing and harvesting vegetables and grains? This doesn’t mean you have to go vegan – just cutting back on your consumption of meat and dairy can go a long way in supporting a healthy world.

Eating less meat – even omitting it from your meal one day each week – can positively influence change. When you do eat meat, look for labels that specify free range, organic and hormone and antibiotic free. There are resources to help you find sustainable food locally so you know exactly where your food is coming from – especially since it can not only affect the environment, but your health as well.

In Conclusion

By striving to make small but efficient changes in your routine, you can lower your environmental impact, lower your bills, and incorporate more eco-friendly practices in your life! Earth is our home, so it’s important to protect it, respect it, and celebrate it with our everyday actions and thoughts.  

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-
  2. https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/going-green-at-school/
  3. https://gosunbolt.com/green-campus-sustainability-ideas/ 
  4. https://www.sustainabilitydegrees.com/the-ultimate-how-to-guide-for-students/
  5. https://www.50waystohelp.com/