It may not feel like autumn yet, but it’s time to get ready to go back to school. If you’re anything like us, this blazing hot summer has been a sobering reminder about the gravity of climate change. Our planet is in trouble, and changes need to be made immediately.
College students are historically a progressive bunch. In the past, campus protests, sit-ins, and other activism pushes have made an enormous difference in local and national policies. Today, students are fighting for a number of important issues, hoping for social justice, equality, and a safer world for the future. There are dozens of important causes for students to work towards right now, but perhaps the most pressing of all is fighting climate change. After all, we need a habitable planet to further social and political justice causes.
A college campus is an ideal space to fight against climate change and work towards go green initiatives. Not only will you find other activists working towards the same cause, but you have the advantage of being a part of a larger platform to create positive change. This is because you have the opportunity to take your individual actions against climate change and help integrate them into your college’s system. So, if you’ve been ditching single-use plastics, keeping track of your water usage, and recycling like a pro, that’s all fantastic— but it’s time to level up. Now, the moment has come to bring those changes to your entire campus.
Unsure about how to systemically bring eco-friendly practices into your college campus? We’re here to help!
Find Innovative Ways to Reuse and Go Green
Once we start looking for ways to reuse and recycle items that aren’t biodegradable, the options seem practically endless. On an individual level, this can mean simple acts, like saving jars to use as storage. On a larger scale, however, the options open up even more.
Recently, many restaurants, cafes, and bars have been saving their old frying oil for a pretty interesting purpose. Instead of sending it to a landfill or dumping it down the drain— both terrible options—restauranteurs are now selling leftover oil to companies who then turn the grease into biofuel! This innovative trend fights climate change in two ways: it reduces the number of oils that end up in our oceans, and it provides a renewable solution for powering vehicles and machinery.
Restaurants aren’t the only places that have big, industrial kitchens. Your campus dining hall is likely home to a couple of fryolators and vats of oil. This semester, try reaching out to your college’s dining services director— they may not have even heard of this initiative yet.
Campaign for More Vegan Options
While we’re on the subject of the dining hall— how many meat and animal products are consumed on your campus? Likely, your dining hall produces a large number of carnivorous meals for you and your classmates.
Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gasses and climate change. Because of this, an increasingly large number of students are choosing a more plant-based diet— but not all colleges have caught up with them. Many vegetarians and vegans run into problems when they move to their campus dorm— often their only meatless options are cold salads or low nutrition items like pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Chances are, there are lots of students who would choose plant-based meals over meaty ones if given the chance— even non-vegetarians. By serving vegetarian main courses on a daily basis, your dining hall kitchen will likely start buying (and potentially wasting) less meat.
Start out by creating an online petition. When you visit your dining hall, chat with other students. You’ll likely find that many of them support this cause. Once you’ve amassed enough signatures, you can present your case to the dining director.
Team up With Other Campus Initiatives
A college campus is filled with idealists who want to make the world a better place. Likely, there are quite a few clubs, teams, and groups that focus on global and local environmental activism. Animal rights groups, vegetarian collectives, zero-waste clubs, and “eat local” advocates likely all exist on your campus. Chances are, they are already working towards making local waves. Attend a few of their meetings, and get to know their members— you might find that they have some great ideas (and contacts) for implementing change on a campus-wide level.
Make it Fun
No matter what eco-cause you choose to work towards, the best way to get your classmates involved is to make it fun, interesting, and relatable. May we suggest a party? By working with officials to throw a school-sanctioned fundraising or awareness party, you are able to get more people involved in your cause— including your faculty and administrators.
Regardless of how you choose to go green, there are dozens of inspiring ways to encourage your classmates to do the same. Which go green awareness activity do you think would inspire your campus the most?
Featured Image Source: http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/wooden-tile/g/go-green.html
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.