Student Sustainability: An Inside Look to being a Sustainable Undergrad
When appliances that don’t need to be on 24/7 (like phone chargers, coffee makers, TV’s, stereo’s, computer chargers etc.) are plugged into a power strip, you can easily turn off all of these appliances with one easy click. Many electronic appliances use energy even while in the “off” mode (any appliance with a glowing light that stays on constantly is drawing unnecessary energy, and many appliances draw energy even without a glowing light), this is called phantom loads. According to an informational sheet in the average home, more than 50% of electricity used to power electronics is consumed when the appliance is turned “off”. By plugging these appliances into a power strip, and turning the strip off when not in use, you cut the appliance off from using any unnecessary energy.
When you sign up for the Power Pledge a free powerstrip will be delivered to your residence hall room at a scheduled time. The sustainability coordinators or Green team volunteers will deliver the powerstrip and educate you on proper powerstrip use--so you're saving electricity, not just plugging more electronics into the outlet. Participating in the Power Pledge is a great way to get into the habit of saving electricity for when you're living on your own and paying your own bills. Contact Recycling@western.edu to sign up today!
You can easily bike around Gunnison. If you are heading up to Crested Butte or CBMR, check out the RTA bus schedule. Service between Gunnison and Crested Butte is extended for the ski season and free!! http://www.gunnisonvalleyrta.org/
With reusable shopping bags available at most grocery stores (they are definitely available at City Market and Safeway here in Gunnison!), there is no reason to use paper or plastic bags. Paper and plastic bags require constant resource extraction from our planet due to the nature of the bag material. Reusable bags, like cloth ones available from stores, will last longer then conventional shopping bags and cut down on your personal resource use as well as the litter and waste produced by paper and plastic bags. Many grocery stores also give 10 cent discounts per bag to costumers that bring their own bags. Reusable bags are also great for toting books and binders to class, or towels and sunscreen to Blue Mesa!
CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamps (they work just like incandescent bulbs), and they have many benefits that incandescent can’t match. They are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, they are less expensive over the lifetime of the bulb (they last 10 times longer than conventional bulbs!) despite being more expensive to purchase. CFL’s save far more money because of their energy efficiency than incandescent, therefore you spend less money over the lifetime of the bulb, which makes CFL’s cheaper than incandescent bulbs. Please look at http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm to see energy saving statistics and other benefits of CFL’s.
On the second Tuesday of every month during the 2011-2012 school year, the student sustainability coordinators will be hosting Do-It-Yourself workshops, highlighting different ways students can live more sustainably in Gunnison. This is a great way to get involved with different students, discover the Gunnison valley in a new way and learn valuable tips on living sustainably. Please see the D-I-Y calender of events here.
Making sure your ideas are heard is just as important to sustainability as reducing your impact or shopping local. There are many ways to get involved with sustainability at WSCU. You can join the Student Sustainability Coalition, a student run club on campus that has made numerous accomplishments, including the solar panels on Kelley Hall and the composter in the dining hall. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for meeting times. Speak with the Student Sustainability Coordinators about any ideas or suggestions you might have. They are students just like you, and can assist with any projects your interested in, or point you in the right direction to make your project happen. Email the student sustainability coordinators at Recycling@western.edu.
Being social in college an exciting part of the experience. While alcohol or drug abuse is not condoned, taking responsibility for your social life, as well as for your impact on the planet are both necessary to a healthy body and healthy world. Reuse your cup when you're at a party, and try to avoid using disposable cups if possible. Always recycle aluminum cans and glass bottles--30 pack drink boxes make great recycle bins! Be conscious of your consumption by finding out how far your favorite drink has to travel to make it to the Gunnison Valley--the farther the distance, the more fossil fuels used to get it here, which makes it less sustainable. Drinking from local breweries can be more sustainable and a fun way to come to know the place you live.
There are many options for eating locally in Gunnison, which can not only be more healthy, but is far more sustainable for the planet and it helps your local economy. Gunnison has a wonderful farmers market every Saturday during late summer and early fall, visit http://www.gunnisonfarmersmarket.com/ for more information.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSA's are a great way to get local foods year-round. CSA's vary, but there are three big ones available to residents in this valley: White Buffalo Farm, Local Farms First and Black canyon Foods.
White Buffalo Farm
Sign up with White Buffalo to receive a box every week, every other week, etc. that is filled with foods from White Buffalo Farm as well as other local goods. Students get a discount on boxes! Visit http://www.whitebuffalofarm.org/ to sign up and get more information
Local Farms First
Visit localfarmsfirst.com for an online farmers market that connects you with 40 local farms, and gives 100% of the profits to the farms you’re ordering from. You can order just about everything you can imagine, from fruits and veggies to meat, dairy and prepared and baked goods.
Black Canyon Foods
Visit http://www.blackcanyonfoods.com/home.php for another online delivery hub for local foods. This website also offers many goods that you can order as Ala carte items, as well as pre-made boxes in varying sizes and kinds of food.