As you all know by now, I am a college student. What you do not know is my decision process when looking at universities. I, along with a huge percentage of other incoming college students, was very conscious of the schools’ environmental sustainability programs. Commitment to environmental issues was right up there with academic reputation and financial aid, and significantly affected my decision. Students like us are becoming more conscious of the huge effects that universities can have, positive or negative. So we are asking the tough questions and pushing for change!
Some of y’all either have begun or will soon begin the college search process, and so I’d like to share with you some of my personal criteria when touring schools. I had a wide range of factors, however, these were the most important to me:
1.) How much local food is served/where does the leftover food go at the end of each and every day? After all, there’s gotta be a lot of excess, especially at large schools.
2.) How much waste is diverted from landfills? College students are humans, and messy ones at that. The availability of recycling bins and other such items seemed critical to me.
3.) Are the available transportation options such as free bus passes or car shares offered? Do transportation options include non-petroleum based ones? Is the location of the school along with the school culture conducive to bike riding and/or walking?
4.) Are there sustainability programs offered in the residence halls? Are the residence halls generally efficient in terms of electricity, heat, and/or water use?
These were just a few of mine, but I’m hoping you’ll start thinking of some of your own as well! Let me know what you think in the comments below!