by Melissa Lockwood, Marine Biology with Sustainability minor ’12
It’s that time of the semester again–the end is on the horizon, but the term is far from over. If you’re like me, you are frantically writing all those term long reports and filling out lab notebooks. And if you’re a really good student, you are starting to think about studying for finals. In all the craziness that makes up the end of the term, it can be really easy to become overwhelmed. Luckily, there are ways to organize yourself to survive the last few weeks and at the same time be sustainable!
For starters, choose your place of study. I suggest the library or the Olin Engineering lounge. You will be removed from the distractions of your apartment/dorm and you will use less energy. If 10 people go to the library to study, they will be sharing the energy it takes to run the AC and the lights, opposed to each person staying in their apartment/dorm and running up the meter at each separate location. If you do study at home, study during the day to avoid using unnecessary electricity. Besides, natural light is better for you.
While you’re studying, you will probably be looking over a lot of notes. Many professors post their PowerPoint’s online for student use. The most sustainable option is to view the notes on the computer, but sometimes it’s hard to study that way. If you must print notes, try using recycled paper, printing on both sides of the page, multiple slides per page. Not only will you reduce the amount of paper and ink you use, you will be saving money (especially if you aren’t using a personal printer).
And of course, while studying, you’ll want to stay hydrated. Try bringing a reusable water bottle or coffee cup with you to your study sessions. It’s cheaper to refill a water bottle than to buy bottled water (which is often more expensive than buying gasoline!)
Life becoming hectic is not an excuse to stop being sustainable. Besides, being sustainable often means saving money, and what college student wouldn’t want that?