How to be eco-friendly in a dorm room

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Living in a dorm room comes with its fair share of new experiences, and getting it all set up for the year is one of the most exciting parts of the process. But before you make that last-minute Target run or squish one more box into your mom’s van, take a moment to consider how your on-campus living can be more environmentally friendly.

1. Add some houseplants.

After asking your roommate about any allergies, clear off some space on the windowsill for a few plants. Succulents, low-maintenance potted plants, and even growing some of your own food can not only add a splash of color to your room, but help boost your mood and provide you with small fruits or herbs. And that extra oxygen certainly doesn’t hurt, either!

2. Watch that waste!

In the electric-bill-free, dining-hall-centered world of dorms, it’s easy to go crazy with trash and waste. Invest in a reusable water bottle. Take shorter showers, and wash your laundry with cold water. Recycle what you can, and reduce what you can’t. When you need to head to your hall’s computer lab to print that syllabus or turn in an essay, check your professor’s requirements and see if you can print double-sided. Find all the little ways to cut back on your carbon footprint, and use them.

3. Use what you have.

It’s true, you probably don’t have XL twin sheets sitting around in your family’s house. But when looking at that dorm supplies list, start to check things off that you already have — maybe an older sibling has some leftover furniture, or maybe you can reuse the decorations you already have in your childhood room. If there’s something else you need, check your local thrift store. The planet — and your wallet — will thank you for reusing.

4. Get some exercise.

Colorado Mesa is a relatively small campus, and a lot of Grand Junction’s attractions aren’t too far away — there’s no need to drive yourself around everywhere. Walk to class, take a bike or skateboard to sports events, and take the stairs if you’re able. If you need to make a WalMart run, check the public transportation system or arrange a carpool before getting behind the wheel.

5. Unplug.

Literally and figuratively. When you leave your room, unplug your appliances if you’re not using them. Your mini-fridge will probably need to stay connected to power, but your microwave, laptop, rope lights and other gadgets can be unplugged for awhile. And while you’re out, unplug yourself, too — CMU is a pretty campus, so look around! Take out your earbuds and put down your phone. Taking time to breathe in some fresh air might not directly help the Earth’s environment, but it’ll do wonders for your mind’s environment.

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