With Earth Day coming up (cue the Al Gore/whales/rainbows/wind technology montage) I took it upon myself to make a few Green changes in my life. I’ve swapped my regular lightbulbs for CFLs, picked up a few reusable grocery bags and started unplugging my electronics/appliances when I’m not using them. These are teensy little changes to my everyday life that are proven to have a very big impact on the planet. Go me.
I started looking around for more ideas of things I could do for the plant and came across a ton of student groups and entire universities that have dedicated themselves to Going Green. After realizing how awful my own school is when it comes to the planet (we’d be better off shipping students off to burn entire rain forests), I was totally inspired by a few colleges that have taken “Going Green” into their own hands. Seeing what these students can do makes me want to do so much more.
Evergreen State College
Evergreen State College in Washington has one of the most successful sustainable organic farms in the country. After providing the school with food, the money from the surplus has gone on to pay for most of the farm’s equipment, including greenhouses, a cooler, and a compost shed. The extra crops are either given to food shelters, sold, or composted. They also use green energy in the form of wind power. Badass.
A student group called MiddShift called for the school to be carbon neutral by 2016 and got the Board of Trustees behind them. But that’s not all! Students are consistently doing their part around campus, leading energy-saving contests in dorms, advocating for public transportation, and in 2007, they put together the Step it Up 2007 campaign, a national movement to fight climate change.
California State University
In 2009, CSU was one of the winners of the National Wildlife Federation’s Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming contest. They won by working with SunEdison to bring solar energy to the California State University System with installations that are estimated to “cut 9,485 metric tons of carbon dioxide.” Whoa there.
Oberlin was one of the other winners of the Chill Out contest by working not only with students and faculty, but locals as well to “green” their area. They offset 13% of their greenhouse gas emissions. They helped save $715,000 in utility bills, and hosted light bulb exchanges (regular bulbs to CFLs) to save energy. The Lightbulb Brigade, as they called it, cut about 6,400 tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the bulbs. Yay!
College of the Atlantic
This Maine college is so green it only has one major: Human Ecology. They describe Human Ecology as the “study of our relationship with our environment.” Since they are so in touch with their relationship with the environment, they were the first college to pledge carbon neutrality in 2006. Since they did it, 270 colleges AND COUNTING have pledged to do the same. Who would have guessed that a tiny college in Maine would be such a trendsetter?