Being environmentally friendly is an accessible step for everyone today, not just conservationists. Global climate change is a fact that is known by people throughout the world and it’s easy for every person to go green and be involved.
It’s now more important than ever that our school campuses are environmentally friendly because students are the future of our society and campuses breed awareness. It may seem like a major leap to get your school campus to be greener, but it’s quite simple if you start with the following 10 steps.
Add more recycling bins and promote recycling
Most people know the importance of recycling these days, but if you don’t have recycling bins available beside every garbage bin, many people will end up using the garbage bin for their plastic bottles and other recyclables. Make sure you have these stations located in all strategic places across campus, especially in green areas and near food vendors. Consider adding labels on the bins which clarify which products go in which bin. If it’s too complicated, they’ll all end up in the garbage.
Set up local clean-up days
Organize a couple of days a semester where students will go out to clean up the neighborhood. Not only does this benefit the community by removing trash, the fresh air and sunshine the students will get during this period will also benefit their health! Members of the community will be grateful and may feel inspired to help out as well, creating a domino effect in the city.
Reduce paper usage
Make as many school forms, information packages, and documents paperless as possible. Putting all of this information online will be easier not only for students to access but will greatly reduce your paper usage. Ask the professors to encourage electronic note-taking and reduce their own paper use in the classroom by making the syllabus and other course documents available online.
Host a local food day on campus
Reach out to local restaurants and farms to have a local food day every month or every few months. Darren Saunders, an educator at Australian Help and Paper Fellows, says you should “place the emphasis on eating foods that are grown locally and use the opportunity to explain to students the benefits of choosing local. An added bonus is that you’re making great connections in the community and promoting small businesses.”
Rethink your campus meal providers
It may be time to think about an overhaul of the campus food services to move toward foods that are better for the environment. The main culprit here is meat consumption, which is extremely high in North America but terrible for the environment. If your students learn that there are other meal options beyond meat-based ones, this will be a positive change in their diets and for the planet even after they leave campus. Look at bringing in food services that are healthier and more plant-based.
Plant a garden on campus
This is an excellent idea that not many schools have done yet but yours could be at the forefront of this movement. School gardens provide local and fresh vegetables and fruits which can be used for school meals or to donate to a local food bank. They also help students get outside and understand the value of nutritious food.
Create an environmental student group
Suggest that students form an environmental green club which can educate the student population from the ground up. They can be your voice on campus and promote issues like instituting composting, organize the initiatives mentioned previously like cleanup days and gardening, raise funds for local environmental grassroots, and more.
Look for different energy sources
This is more difficult and expensive to set up initially, but look into alternative energy sources for the school, like installing solar panels.
Support environmentally friendly businesses
Barbara Thompson, a green writer at Write a book report and State of Writing, suggests that you “make sure that the businesses you work with on campus have good environmental practices. It won’t do to preach to students about the benefits of being green and then supporting companies that run animal testing or are known polluters.”
Eliminate plastic water bottles from campus
This is a relatively easy win for campuses. Get teachers and students to eliminate their usage of plastic bottles and other single-use plastics. Make sure you have drinking fountains all over campus that are big enough to refill reusable water bottles. Consider including a refillable, durable bottle in your welcome kit when students join the school or organize a campaign where they’re sold at discounted prices.
Written by Ellie Coverdale
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