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Don’t Feed the (Land)Fill: A Sustainability Office Intern’s Experience at a Zero-Waste Conference

By Sustainability Office on December 6, 2017
-Miranda Gilgore ’18

In early November, the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) hosted their 4th annual Students for Zero-Waste Conference in Philadelphia. The conference brought together about 500 students and faculty as well as companies committed to challenging thoughtless, wasteful consumerism.

Sites from the Toxics Tour of Chester, PA.

The conference began on Friday with a discussion of Environmental Justice and a “Toxics Tour” of the astounding number of polluting factories, incinerator, and industrial facilities located in nearby Chester, PA. Chester is in many ways the embodiment of environmental injustice and was therefore a good location for the tour. Among the Chester Water Authority, industrial center, paper mill and paper manufacturer, two chemical plants, empty plots that were formerly home to polluting factories or waste sites, trash substation, power plants (one current, one now turned into office space), and sewer overflow, Chester is perhaps most famously home of the nation’s largest trash incinerator. Despite being the country’s largest trash incinerator, importing trash from the surrounding county, nearby Philadelphia, NY, and NJ, the Covanta trash incinerator lacks many of the pollution controls that other incinerators have. The discussion of environmental justice and the tour were a striking way to start the weekend’s discussion on waste and the hopes of creating a zero-waste future because it showed the consequences of inaction and business as usual: polluted rivers, smelly air, and injustice. On Friday evening, the keynote speaker, Kate Bailey from Eco-Cycle, reminded us to think of zero-waste among other large scale energy saving initiatives.  

 

Well rested and excited for what the day would bring, I started Saturday off by enjoying a zero-waste breakfast (bulk items with no packaging, real silverware, and compostable bowls for attendees who hadn’t brought their own) and meeting new friends. I attended workshops on reducing on-campus disposable coffee cup usage, conducting a waste audit, and discussing zero-waste across different perspectives. I ate a zero-waste lunch. And I was inspired and encouraged.

Having wanted to go to this conference for the past 3 years because of my interest in zero waste initiatives, finally attending the conference was really a dream come true for me. The conference also fits into the larger picture of my work as an intern for the Office of Sustainability here at Colgate. Given Colgate’s waste problem (more than 850 tons of waste produced so far in 2017 and only a 12% recycling rate), I was eager to see what solutions students at other schools have found to reduce waste. One of the biggest takeaways from the conference is how far a little thoughtfulness can go. Bringing something to the correct recycling bin, packing something in a reusable container instead of a ziplock, not taking a straw to go with your disposable cup isn’t hard, it just takes a little extra thought. Colgate has a long way to go before it hits its 2025 goal of a zero waste campus, but with a little intentionality on all of our parts and a commitment to a just future, I think we can make huge strides.


Colgate Receives Highest Ever AASHE STARS Score

By Sustainability Office on December 6, 2017

STARS Gold SealLast week, Colgate University received a STARS Gold rating for the second time with its highest ever score (72.19) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Colgate is one of only 124 institutions to receive a gold rating from AASHE STARS.

“AASHE STARS is the gold standard for assessing sustainability programs in higher ed. The fact that we scored so high and achieved a Gold rating illustrates a commitment to sustainability from every level of the institution,” stated director of sustainability, John Pumilio.

The assessment broadly approaches sustainability addressing a range of categories from operations to diversity and affordability. Most notably, Colgate scored well in the water, air and climate, purchasing, curriculum and engagement categories.  

Innovative and forward-thinking initiatives, such as Colgate’s comprehensive wellness program, Chapel House geothermal exchange system and a longitudinal study of the soundscape of Colgate’s hill also played a role in our institution’s new rating.

“I am really proud of the work Colgate is doing toward integrating sustainability across the university and it is wonderful that this work is recognized by the AASHE STARS program,” stated Chair of the Sustainability Council, Dr. Catherine Cardelús.

The nature of this report demonstrates that campus sustainability relies on more than just the work of one office, but rather dedicated student, staff and faculty champions across the institution who work to create a more socially and environmentally responsible and resilient community.

“I’m grateful to be working at an institution that places such a high value on sustainability and especially grateful to members of our sustainability team, Pamela Gramlich, and our student interns for their tireless effort over the past few months,” Pumilio stated. “STARS Gold is something the entire Colgate community can celebrate.”

Colgate’s entire AASHE STARS report can be viewed here. Special thanks to Dana Chan ‘19, Chaveli Miles ‘19, Annaliese Clauze ‘20, and Sonia Ost ‘20 for their work on the report.  Please email sustainability@colgate.edu with any questions.

 


Paper Purchasing at Colgate: Things to Know

By Sustainability Office on October 3, 2016

by John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability

People are often faced with an overwhelming amount of choices when making a purchasing decision for any single product.

Take paper, for example – a simple search for 8.5×11 printer/copier paper on the Staples website will bring up hundreds of choices.  In the end, each of us makes our decisions based on a number of preferences.  For example, price and quality may be priorities for some while environmental sustainability may be important to others.

For several years now, Colgate has had an institution-wide preference to purchase recycled content and/or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.

We hope this post will help you find the most environmentally responsible paper while also keeping in mind cost and quality.  But first, it is important to know that Staples identifies recycled content paper and various environmental certifications within the product descriptions.  Please read about the products before deciding on a brand.  Additionally, if you search for copy paper within the Staples website, you have the option to narrow your choices to environmentally responsible choices by checking the “ECO-CONSCIOUS” box.  This makes it easier for you to identify the products that have the environmental attributes you are looking for.

Keeping this in mind, here are a few criteria to consider when choosing paper that is best for you:

  • Post-Consumer Recycled Content Paper.  Paper that was once a cardboard box, newspaper, magazine, printer/copier paper, notepad, or any other paper product that was used by someone else before being recycled and processed into something new for you. Paper made with post-consumer recycled content ultimately relies on fewer forests that must be cut down to feed the demand for virgin paper.  In sustainability circles, post-consumer content paper is preferred over recycled content paper.
  • Recycled Content Paper.  Paper made from recycled content (sometimes labeled as pre-consumer recycled content) is created from manufacturer waste that never actually made it to the consumer for one reason or another.  Manufacturer waste such as scraps, rejects, or trimmings that end up on the factory floor is repurposed into something new rather than trashed.  Pre-consumer recycled content paper saves precious resources but is still not as good as post-consumer recycled content paper.

    FSC-100

    Forest Stewardship Council. Look for this logo when purchasing paper at Colgate University.

  • FSC Certified Paper. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Rainforest Alliance certify environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.  By purchasing FSC certified paper, you are doing your part to preserve forests and the wildlife they support.  EarthChoice® and Mohawk® office paper, for example, are FSC and Rainforest Alliance certified. A full list of FSC certified paper offered through Staples can be found here.
  • SFI Certified Paper.  The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is another certification that helps the consumer choose paper products from well-managed forests.  In many sustainability circles, SFI is not viewed as favorably as FSC.  SFI was formed by the American Forest and Paper Association, an industry group.  Still, SFI certification is better than nothing.

    sfi-logo

    Sustainable Forestry Initiative. A good second-option if FSC certified paper is not available.

There are also new types of high-quality paper that are made from rapidly renewable resources (e.g., sugarcane, bamboo, and other materials that are not trees) that have gained favor from sustainability advocates.  Step Forward copy paper, for example, is made from 80% wheat straw.  The paper is acid-free, elemental chlorine-free, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.  Step Forward paper can be ordered through Staples.

Finally, Colgate’s Office of Sustainability recommends purchasing paper that contains both post-consumer content and is FSC certified.  A few brands of paper that meet these criteria include Hammermill®, Boise® Aspen™, Staples®, Wausau®, and HP Office™ office paper.  Again, it is important to look at the produce description to identify the environmental attributes of the paper.  And, of course, the higher the recycled content (100% vs. 30%) the better the paper is for the environment.


Is unsolicited campus mail getting you down? Here’s what you can do!

By Sustainability Office on September 15, 2016

Many individuals on campus are frustrated by the amount of unsolicited mail they receive.  Not only are some of these advertisements and other announcements bothersome, but they also waste heaps of paper, ink, and toner — not to mention the time and money spent printing, delivering, and recycling these announcements.  According to The Center for a New American Dream (whose mission is to advance sustainability by shifting the way we consume), reducing unsolicited mail can have big environmental benefits.  Did you know:

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

  • Americans spend over 8 months of our lives opening junk mail.
  • Over 100 million trees are cut down annually to produce unsolicited mail.  That’s the equivalent of completely deforesting the Adirondacks in only 3 years.
  • 44% of unsolicited mail is never even opened.
  • Only 1 in 5 pieces of junk mail is recycled.
  • Over 5.6 million tons of paper promotions are landfilled each year.
  • Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of unsolicited mail.

It is no wonder so many faculty, staff, and students are unnerved by the amount of unsolicited mail we receive.  But what can you do?  Below are a few tips:

1) Reduce it on campus. Did you know that Colgate has five separate mail distribution lists?

  • Distribution A goes to every employee on campus (~940 mailings)
  • Distribution B goes to every faculty member on campus (~540 mailings)
  • Distribution C goes to every faculty member and administrator (~610 mailings)
  • Distribution D goes to each department (one per department or ~115 mailings)
  • Distribution E goes to each student (~2,900 mailings)

If you are producing mail to be distributed on campus, you can easily change your campus distribution list from mailing list A to mailing list D and save over 800 pieces of mail. Alternatively, if you receive unsolicited campus mail from a campus department or program, contact them with a gentle reminder to switch their distribution list. This small change can significantly reduce the amount of paper used, the associated costs to a department and our university’s carbon footprint.

2) Make it eco-friendly. In the event that you need to produce campus mail, use FSC® Certified paper stock. This will significantly reduce the environmental (and social) impacts of producing your mail by ensuring your products come from responsibly managed forests. You can also opt to use soy-based inks. These environmentally friendly inks are renewable, biodegradable and more easily removed during the recycling process. They often produce a richer pigment quality, as well.

3) Recycle it. When you dispose of your mail, please be sure to recycle it in one of the paper recycling bins located in your building.

4) Cut down on mail from outside marketers.  If you receive campus mail from outside marketers or organizations, try this:

  • Register for the National Do Not Mail List.  This free service is quick and easy and gives you the option to continue to receive mailings of your choice.  DirectMail.com will contact you every six months via e-mail so you can review and update your preferences.  Visit DirectMail.com to register at http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/.
  • Ask companies to stop sending you catalogs.  If you receive unwanted catalogs or other mail from specific sources, call the toll-free customer service number to request that your name be removed from their mailing list. Also, make your request via e-mail from the company’s website. Have the mailing label handy when you call, or attach a picture of it to your email.  No doubt this takes time, but think of all the time you save by not having to deal with unwanted catalogs that routinely show up on campus.  Also, Catalog Choice offers a free service that sends opt-out requests for individual companies on your behalf.
  • At home, if you receive unwanted mail from credit card companies, call 1-888-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.  One short call will remove your name and address from Equifax, TransUnion, Experian and Innovis!

Do you have other ideas on how to reduce or eliminate unsolicited mail?  Please share!

Have other questions about recycling on campus?  Visit our FAQ post!

Thanks for doing your part to save resources and reduce waste on campus and at home!


SOLARIZE CNY (UPDATE)

By Sustainability Office on November 16, 2015

solarize cny

2015 Solarize CNY Update (November 16, 2015)

As of today, 28 solar installations have been completed for a total of 285 kW!

  • Cayuga: 4 installations, 32.1 kW
  • Cortland: 1 installation, 13.4 kW
  • Madison: 1 installation, 10 kW
  • Onondaga: 10 installations, 96.3 kW
  • Oswego: 12 installations, 133.4 kW

125 contracts signed for a total of 1,084 kW

  • Cayuga: 21 contracts, 160.7 kW
  • Cortland: 25 contracts, 255.6 kW
  • Madison: 25 contracts, 276.3 kW
  • Onondaga: 48 contracts, 355 kW
  • Oswego: 6 contracts, 37 kW

That’s 1,369 kW of new solar coming online in Central New York as a result of the Solarize CNY effort! That’s more than 10% of all the solar that has historically been installed in our region!

Per county totals for installations and signed contracts shows:

  • Cayuga: 193 kW
  • Cortland: 269 kW
  • Madison: 286 kW
  • Onondaga: 451 kW
  • Oswego: 170 kW

 


 

 

2015 Solarize CNY Update (October 20, 2015)

With less than two weeks left in our Solarize CNY campaign, organizers are starting to get a rush of online enrollments and phone calls.  Here is a quick update on the Solarize CNY campaign:

  1. We have about 975 enrollments so far, so we almost to our goal of 1,000+ total enrollments!
  2. 21 residents have already had their systems installed!
  3. 79 residents have signed contracts and are waiting for their installations.
  4. Another 63 residents are currently negotiating or reviewing their proposal.

It’s not too late to enroll in the program and schedule your FREE site assessment.  Here is the link: http://solarizecny.org/

 


 

2015 Solarize CNY Original Post (September 8, 2015)

Due to continued interest and ongoing questions regarding the Solarize CNY program, the Office of Sustainability will be hosting an information session specifically for Colgate employees.  The session will take place on September 16 (Wednesday) in the ALANA Cultural Center (Multipurpose Room).  We will be joined by members of Madison County Planning and our local solar installer, CNY Solar, out of Canastota.  Lunch will be provided.

If you have been interested in solar energy but are not sure if it is right for you or where to begin, then now is the time to attend this information session and enroll in the Solarize CNY program.

As a reminder, Solarize CNY is a volume purchasing program that streamlines the process and reduces the cost of installing solar energy for electricity. Through existing federal and state incentives coupled with the bulk purchasing power of the program, residents and small businesses can save up to 64% off the sticker price of a solar PV system. With the Solarize CNY program all permits and paperwork associated with installing the system are taken care of for the participant.

To find out more information and to enroll in the program today, please visit www.solarizecny.org.  To participate, you must enroll in the program by October 31, 2015.


Famed American Alpinist to Visit Colgate (Nov 4, 7 p.m., 101 Ho)

By Sustainability Office on October 28, 2015

KittyCalhounSquare

The Office of Sustainability is thrilled that Kitty Calhoun will be visiting Colgate on November 4. As a premier American Alpinist, Kitty will discuss her adventures in a presentation entitled, “Last Ascents.”  Her passion for alpine exploration and the corresponding ecosystem is under direct threat from climate change.

Dream Big ~ Find Your Passion

Be Inspired ~ Make a Difference!

See you on Wednesday, Nov 4, at 7 p.m. in the Meyerhoff Auditorium (101 Ho).


2015 GREEN SUMMIT: Climate Change in Our Time

By Sustainability Office on October 19, 2015

Office of Sustainability Logo - Samantha Lee

2015 Green Summit Update (October 19, 2015)

Thank you to our esteemed panelists and all who attended our Green Summit panel discussion on climate change.  We filled Golden Auditorium and hosted people in an overflow room.  We had terrific audience participation and the panelist fielded some excellent questions regarding climate change in our time and on our campus.

Below, we are posting the video recording of the discussion.  In response to one of the questions from the audience, we also wanted to follow up with a few resources we think you might find interesting:

***SAVE THE DATE: Our next panel discussion in this series will take place on April 5, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. in Golden Auditorium.  Follow our blog for ongoing updates.

 

PANEL DISCUSSION: 9/17/2015 AT 4:30 PM IN GOLDEN AUDITORIUM


 

2015 Green Summit Original Post (September 1, 2015)

On September 17, the Office of Sustainability will be hosting the 15th annual Green Summit.  The title of this year’s event will be Climate Change in Our Time.

As you likely know, the end of 2015 is gearing up to be a momentous year for climate issues globally, nationally, and here on campus.  In June, Pope Francis released his heavily anticipated encyclical on the environment.  In August, the White House finalized the Clean Power Plan, its flagship policy to combat carbon emissions from power plants.  This coming December at the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) in Paris, there are high expectations for a global agreement on emissions reductions.  And here at Colgate, we are in the midst of updating our plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2019. The purpose of this year’s Green Summit is to highlight issues of climate change (at Colgate and beyond) from various faculty perspectives.

The 2015 Green Summit will kickoff at 4:30 p.m. in Golden Auditorium (Little Hall) with a faculty panel discussion.

Panelists for this events include:

  • Adam Burnett, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography
  • April Baptiste, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Engda Hagos, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Mark Shiner, University Chaplain and Catholic Campus Minister
  • Peter Klepeis, Professor of Geography

The panel will be moderated by John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability.  We will invite questions/comments from the audience.

 

MERCHANTS OF DOUBT: 9/17/2015 AT 9:00 PM AT THE HAMILTON MOVIE THEATER

At 9:00 p.m., the 2015 Green Summit will conclude with a private showing of Naomi Oreskes’ award-winning documentary, Merchants of Doubt.  The program will take place at the Hamilton Merchants of DoubtMovie Theater.  Seating is limited and tickets will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.  Tickets are FREE and can be picked up in the Ho Science Center room 245 (Steve Dickinson’s office) or in Lathrop Hall room 109M (John Pumilio’s office).

To follow the latest news, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

To submit questions in advance of the forum, use #GateGreenSummit.

The 2015 Green Summit is sponsored by CORE Scientific Perspectives, Environmental Studies, Lampert Institute, Office of Sustainability, Upstate Institute.

**We encourage all Green Summit attendees to attend a special event hosted by the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs.  The event entitled, “Edible Memory: How Tomatoes Became Heirlooms and Apples Became Antiques,” by Dr. Jennifer Jordan, Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee will take place at 7:00 p.m. in 101 Ho Science Center (Meyerhoff Auditorium).

The 2015 Green Summit is sponsored by the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs, the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute, the Upstate Institute, Environmental Studies, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

We look forward to seeing you at our 15th annual Green Summit!


Sue Hughes-Smith BA Geology ’93 Returns to Campus (10/24)

By Sustainability Office on October 16, 2015

Sue Hughes-Smith BA Geology ’93, will be on campus and available to meet with students interested in climate change next Saturday, October 24th, 11:00-12:00 in Lawrence 209.

Here is a little more about Sue:
“While teaching science at the secondary level I completed two Master’s Degrees: Education (Michigan State 1998) and Environmental Conservation (NYU 2002).  After moving to Rochester, NY in 2006 I became a lecturer for the department of Public Health and Health Education at SUNY Brockport and an adjunct professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  As a climate activist I am affiliated with the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Mothers Out Front and Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

CCL

 

 


HOME ENERGY ASSESSMENT INFORMATION SESSION (Sept 29, 7 PM, Hamilton Public Library)

By Sustainability Office on September 21, 2015

NYSERDA
Did you know that you can get a FREE home energy assessment through NYSERDA’s Green Jobs Green NY program?  Most certainly, your home is wasting energy and costing you money.  A home energy assessment can help you determine where and how energy and money is being lost while also highlighting cost-effective measures to make your home more comfortable, affordable, and energy efficient.

During this information session we will:

  • walk you through the process of signing up for the home energy assessment
  • uncover typical myths about energy efficiency including windows, furnaces, new house vs. old house, and others.
  • review insulation types (fiberglass, foam, cellulose, and air sealing)
  • preview what equipment or testing is performed during a home energy assessment
  • discuss rebates, grants, and financing opportunities to help offset the cost of implementing energy savings projects

Hope to see you at 7 PM on September 29 (Tuesday) at the Hamilton Public Library.

Please contact John Pumilio, director of sustainability, with any questions.

This event is sponsored by Colgate’s Office of Sustainability.

Office of Sustainability Logo - Samantha Lee


Sustainably Unpacking the Pack for Colgate

By Sustainability Office on July 14, 2015

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By: Lindsey Sagasta ’16 (Tonawanda, NY)

Class of 2019: At this point in your life, you have chosen your college, been assigned a roommate, and have registered for your fall semester classes, so what’s next?

Soon, it will be August 23rd and you will be moving into your room at Colgate. Choosing what to bring with you, especially when it’s your first year, can be pretty intimidating. Back-to-school ads have been flowing through your mailboxes, and in every store there is some sort of dorm-room display to remind people of the purchases that need to be made. You might have already experienced a move-in or move-out day for a sibling or friend, and it’s highly probable that you also saw the giant mounds of trash produced by each student moving in. On move-in day, this trash largely consists of packaging that is no longer needed. On move-out day, this trash can be used notebooks, empty pizza boxes, worn out shower shoes, broken electronics, or anything else you don’t want to keep for the summer or the next few years.

Although the large amounts of trash produced during move-in and move-out day is highly upsetting to sustainability-minded students, it is actually quite minimal compared to the waste and resources used throughout the year due to inefficient and unsustainable packing. Think about all the energy used for cramming for exams, watching TV, and hanging out late at night with music. Now imagine all of the trash that’s made from snacks, drink containers, and items that you thought would be useful, but have proved otherwise. What you purchase and bring to Colgate will heavily effect your impact as a first-year student on Colgate’s carbon footprint.

So what should you bring?

All over the Internet, there are checklists that were created with first-year college students in mind. Some of these can be overwhelming, some can be a bit excessive, and others too vague. At this point, you need to think about yourself, and what you really think will be necessary at college. It might be helpful to reach out to upperclassmen that you know, or those who have made themselves available to make your transition as easy as possible. Knowing the position that you are in, I am here to help. Below is a list that has been compiled by the Office of Sustainability that advises you on what to bring, leave at home, and consider when you are shopping (it can also be found on the new students section for sustainability). Here I will unpack this information for you, and add more suggestions to avoid the eco-disaster that college dorm rooms can become.

What to bring:

  • Reusable water bottle. Avoid plastic, single-use water bottles. There are plenty of places up-the-hill and down-the-hill that you can refill a reusable bottle, and every time you do refill it, that is one less plastic bottle being made and discarded. If you do end up with a bottle, make sure you recycle it! Check out Klean Kantean, Hydro Flask, and Earth Lust products for some great options.
  • Power strips. Plug electronics into smart, energy-efficient, power strips that you can turn off when you leave the room. Using power strips allows for the avoidance of “vampire energy”, also known as “phantom load”- energy that circulates through devices that are plugged in, even though they are not in use.
  • LED light bulbs. LEDs may be a bit more expensive than tradition incandescent light bulbs, but they will not burnout while you are at Colgate (they have a much longer life!) and a much smaller energy and carbon footprint.
  • Water filter pitcher. Pitchers are another option in case a water fountain isn’t immediately available to fill up your reusable water bottle, but a sink or tap source might be. Although Colgate water doesn’t need to be filtered, if you find peace of mind by doing so, this is a much more cost-effective and sustainable option than one-time use bottled water.
  • Reusable grocery bags. Tote bags can be brought from home, or purchased once you arrive. By opting out of single-use plastic grocery bags, you are eliminating the large amount of chemicals and waste it takes to make the bags, as well as avoiding pollution that can occur by improper disposal.
  • Reusable cutlery/dishes. Reduce waste and pollution from one-time use plastic cutlery or paper plates if you choose to eat food in your room.
  • High-efficiency (HE) detergent. HE detergent results in clean clothes with less waste and pollution. All of Colgate’s washing machines are high-efficiency machines.
  • Green cleaning products. Harsh chemicals and bleaches are bad for the environment and our health. There are several green and sustainable cleaning products such as Method, Ecover, and Seventh Generation.
  • Recycled notebooks. If you have half-filled notebooks – use them again! There’s plenty of paper left to get through another course. This is also a great tip for your entire Colgate career. If you want to avoid paper completely, taking notes on a laptop or tablet is a great option, just check with your professors in each class to make sure its allowed.
  • Bicycle. Although first-years are allowed to have cars on campus, it can be a pain, trust me. Bikes are an awesome alternative. If you can’t bring a bike, you can apply to rent a Green Bike through the Office of Sustainability. The bike will get you where you need to go, and use your power, instead of adding carbon to the atmosphere.
  • Clothes drying rack. Drying racks will eliminate the need for a drying machine and the energy needed to run one. It will also greatly reduce the chance of messing up your favorite clothes!
  • Organic bedding. Organic bedding is free from toxic chemicals and healthier for the planet and you!

Leave at home

  • Printer. There are plenty of places to print for free on campus, so it is not necessary to bring a printer from home. It is also increasingly popular for professors to post all articles online and allow you to use digital versions in class instead of printouts.
  • Car. At Colgate, you will have access to several forms of free and accessible modes of transportation.
  • Bed risers. Bed risers are a waste of plastic since all Colgate beds can be raised to your liking.

When buying supplies consider…

  • Energy Star® appliances. Although appliances are not needed in first year rooms, if you happen to need one, Energy Star® rated appliances use 1/3 less energy.
  • Post-consumer recycled content notebooks. There are plenty of notebooks that have been made from recycled content, just read the labels when you go to buy a new one.
  • Renting textbooks or buying used copies. There is no reason to buy a new textbook- by doing a small amount of searching online, you can find cheap used textbooks in great condition, and you can even rent the textbooks from places such as Amazon, Chegg, and the Colgate Bookstore.
  • Coordinating with your roommates to avoid bring duplicate appliances. Always talk to your roommates before hand, this will avoid duplicate purchases and in the end will save you money.
  • Purchasing used furniture from Hamilton yard sales. Local purchases not only help the Hamilton/Colgate community, but will also reduce shipping costs or gas costs to bring it to campus.

Further, you can use an app such as GoodGuide to search, scan, and browse products that are healthy, green, and socially responsible. This app will rate products and companies for their health, environmental, and social impact.

There is also this incredible green dorm checklist– with everything you might need and companies or products listed that are some of the most sustainable options.

Colgate will soon become a user of the TradePal app, where you can look through things that are being locally sold on campus, and can work with the seller on a price!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at lsagasta@colgate.edu. Also, if you haven’t checked out the new students sustainability page mentioned before, I highly advise that you do before August 23rd!

What you bring in your dorm room can have an impact on our carbon footprint; we hope you make the right choices to make it a positive impact. See you in August!

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