Originally Posted: Apr 18, 2013
Last Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Students today are using new and old tactics to make a difference in their communities and environments. By making small changes to their study habits, they’ve set a precedent for future students to follow.
To become a green student, follow these tips:
1. Recycle and reuse old notes
Students who take notes with pen and paper know that those pages pile up quickly. Once a notebook is filled and class is finished, there’s little use for the paper later. Don’t just stuff those pages in bins or drawers to be forgotten; recycle what you know you’ll never use again.
If you simply can’t part with your notes, scan the important pages so you can access them from your iPad or laptop. Or, you could reuse those old notebooks to create some fun artwork for your dorm room. Paint notebook covers with chalkboard paint and grab some chalk for a custom blackboard.
2. Test out your green thumb
Not only are plants a good way to give your dorm room or apartment a green glow, they also create a calming environment for students. The Daily Green recommends students nurture a dwarf lemon tree, aloe vera, or African violets. If you find you can’t keep up with plants like those, try cacti, as they don’t require a ton of maintenance.
3. Embrace energy-saving computer settings
Laptops allow you to unhook from the outlet and cut back on electricity use. Make sure you’re using these devices to their full advantage using their energy settings.
Boston University’s Sustainability Program recommends:
- Keeping your screen saver on black—that means none of those fancy squiggles while you’re away.
- Closing your laptop cover when you’re not using it to preserve power.
- Letting your monitor sleep after about 10 minutes of non-use. Computers deserve naps just as much as you.
Finally, don’t forget to unplug your laptop charger from the wall when you’re not using it!
4. Quiz yourself online
Why waste time, money, and paper creating piles of flashcards or complex study guides? Lots of websites offer digital versions of these tools that will help make you a more ecofriendly student. Try out StudyBlue, Quizlet, and Boundless for some online study options.
5. Turn in assignments online
If your professor allows it, turn in assignments online to cut back on your paper consumption. Professors can still mark up documents with corrections or comments using Google Document’s revision history or Microsoft Word’s tracked changes settings.
For professors that insist on hard copies of your work, see if you can print on double-sided paper instead.
6. Invest in green school supplies
When you need school supplies like pens, tape, and notebooks, look for ecofriendly versions:
- Pens: use corn pens that will disintegrate a year after they’re tossed away.
- Notebooks: look for notebooks made from recycled paper.
- Paperclips: purchase paper clips made from recycled steel to keep documents together.
7. Ditch the textbooks
Nothing about textbooks screams “ecofriendly.” Sure, you could rent or sell your books so more people could use them, but wouldn’t it be great if you could save some trees by giving up traditional textbooks entirely?
Several companies offer online versions of textbooks so students can make their study habits more green and save money. Boundless has free online textbooks for lots of popular introductory courses, like biology, communications, psychology, and several more. Flat World Knowledge, Amazon.com, and Chegg have online options for loads of other courses too.