5 Ways to be a Greener College Student

Sustainability is probably the last thing on the minds of some college students who are trying to get by taking classes, working, and all the other concerns on our minds. However, there are easy ways to be more sustainable that benefit the planet, your wallet, and other benefits you probably never thought of. Here are 5 easy ways to be a greener college student:

1)      Refill Water – Glass or stainless steel water bottles can be washed, reused, and refilled, unlike plastic water bottles which cost more and put more of a strain on the environment. There are places to fill up your water container all over Hofstra’s campus, which you can only do once or twice with disposable plastic bottles.

2)      Reuse or Return Plastic Bags – Extra plastic bags can be more useful than you think: they can line the garbage pail in your dorm room, serve as cushioning for packages, transporting wet clothes, or they can be returned to the supermarket for recycling.

3)      Buy and Cook in Bulk – Cooking is cheaper, often healthier, and the groceries needed for it may waste less packaging than the big bag of takeout you would otherwise throw away. While cooking is also more time-consuming, do it in groups and you can have fun together while saving even more money.

4)      Conserve Paper and Notebooks – Instead of buying new notebooks that you throw out at the end of each semester, buy one large notebook so you can use the remaining sections for other classes or future semesters. Old notes and print-outs can go in a paper bag to bring home at the end of the semester for recycling. Better yet, ask your professors if they mind having laptops in the classroom to conserve paper.

5)  Donate to the INN – The Interfaith Nutrition Network is a charity in Hempstead that provides meals and supplies to economically struggling members of the community. Before you get rid of your clothes or other items that would fill up a landfill, check the INN’s list of requested items to see if you can donate. Hofstra works with the INN frequently and hosts collections, especially leading up to the holiday season.

#GivingTuesday

Happy National Day of Giving! The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is a kick-off to the season of charity leading up to the holidays. Part of civic engagement means supporting the community – whether it’s the campus, local, state, national, or global community. Giving to organizations that support people and improve society not only helps the community, but it actually has a host of other benefits that start within the individual donor and spread to others.

For example, giving to charitable causes can actually lower stress, increase happiness, and promote mental health in the giver! It also causes a chain reaction. People may be more likely to give to charity when they see or hear about others doing it. Giving can also include giving time, which has the benefit of bringing people together under a positive goal. This comes with its own benefits, as social connection and teamwork are positive on every level from the biology of the individual to jump-starting positive patterns across society.

However, #GivingTuesday should also be a reminder that community organizations need support throughout the year, not just during busy season where they experience a bump in giving. Often, charities find themselves gratefully receiving support and supplies during the holidays and experience shortages after.

Looking for a way to give? Hofstra’s Home for the Holidays Drive will benefit the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) in Hempstead by giving much-needed personal care items to people who might otherwise go without.