5 Sustainable Habits for College in 2021

My first day of sophomore year- and my first day of in-person college classes ever- was yesterday! I felt invigorated to walk among throngs of students (carefully, of course- even though most of us are vaxxed there's still a pandemic on); to sit in an auditorium while a professor lectures from a stage big enough for a ballet production; to do "Glowga" (night yoga) with friends and hundreds of other students outside while frat boys in the middle of the field attract a crowd as they try to make a human pyramid- this is really college! I'm really here! 

5 sustainable habits I'm keeping in college this year:

1. Fixing up what I have instead of buying new
I've been adding embroidery to old things to rejuvenate them. My comforter from home is a little bit big for my dorm bed, but it works! I asked y'all on Instagram what I should embroider on it and your response settled emphatically on Lord of the Rings reference, so I stitched the entish phrase "BurĂ¡rum" and some janky little trees on it. I never said I was skilled at embroidery. It's very relaxing, though.

When I wore through the front of my tennis shoes, I sewed up the holes and then added some cute little flowers. I've had these shoes for three or four years. I don't know if they're a cool brand or not. I'll keep using them until the bottoms are worn through because they're comfortable and supportive and now they have serotonin-producing flowers. 

I'm also in the process of embroidering flowers and mushrooms and other whimsical garden decals on my plain sweatpants.

Apart from embroidery, I tore photos out of a Led Zeppelin book my dad was going to throw away. Now I have ~artsy~ ~edgy~ wall decor in addition to some hand-me-down Legolas posters. :)

2. Thrifting before buying new
I love my thrifted old lady plates (see below) and my mom and aunt helped me find some high-quality cooking supplies(pots, pans etc) at a thrift store. I think my roommate and I are also gonna look at thrift stores for unconventional wall decor.
Here are my thrifted old lady plates. My roommate and I made cookies, propped our door open with a chair, and put the cookies on a chair to lure our hallmates to come say hi. We didn't have baking soda or baking powder, but we used The Kitchen Magpie's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Without Baking Soda/Powder and they are SO YUMMY.

3. Reusable washcloths instead of paper towels
I kept the sleeves from my t-shirt quilt and the scraps from some shirts I've cut for ~style~, and I'm using them for house cleaning, instead of paper towels like I used last year. I'll use them with my mom's trusty DIY natural cleaning solution.
I'm still working on getting into this habit in the kitchen, where it's so simple for me to just rip off a paper towel to dab up one of the many messes I make there over the course of the day.

4. Reusable notebooks
I'm planning on taking notes on my Rocketbooks for almost all of my classes. I talk more about Rocketbook in this post, if you're new to them. I like having paper notes but they can get cumbersome as they add up, so I'm planning on uploading notes to my computer and erase the physical copies with every new unit. I'll let you know how it goes.

5. EcoReps Social Media and Advocacy
I'm the Social Media and Advocacy Chair for Clemson Ecological Representatives. Among other duties, I'll be sharing sustainability updates on Instagram @clemsonecoreps. While my posts will be Clemson-centric, the tips and ideas I'll post can work for any college student!

Remember how, last year, I complained incessantly about the styrofoam to-go boxes in the dining halls? By the end of last year, 2/3 dining halls were using compostable boxes. This year, those dining halls are using reusable boxes! Each person has one token, which they "pay" to take a box; when you return the box, you get your token back. Eco Reps agitation was a major force in getting those reusable boxes. Go us. Now we just have to work on that third dining hall...

If you're starting college soon, check out my 10 Sustainable Dorm Essentials! They're affordable, too. :)

What other eco college tips or questions do you have? Should I clean my dorm tomorrow or this weekend? Share your responses with me in the comments below, via email, or on Instagram or Facebook.

Peace and love,

Heather <3

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