This April is Earth Month, which means being kind to the environment, reducing your eco footprint, and teaching others how to be more sustainable. There’s no better time than Earth Month to start paving the way for a green campus—in fact, there are many ways to do so! Here are five sustainability projects to bring to campus this Earth Month and beyond.
Arrange a Beach Cleanup
If your school is located near the ocean, assemble a team of students and organize a beach trip to gather trash that could get swept up by the waves—especially material made of plastic. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, about 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. While one or two beach clean-ups a semester may not seem like a lot, every morsel of trash collected truly makes a difference.
If your campus is landlocked, no need to worry; you can arrange trash clean-ups at a local park, recreation center, or even right on campus. While you’re walking to class, keep an eye out for any garbage lingering around campus, and even try to swipe up some junk as you go—it’s probably more than you think. Don’t forget to equip your clean-up squad with the Restore Waistpack, a perfect hands-free bag made of recycled textile waste for when your hands are full saving the Earth.
Organize a recycled art contest
This sustainability project gets your creative juices flowing while saving the Earth—what better combination? By pairing creativity with sustainability, students can generate meaningful, unique works of art using recycled items—whether it’s a tin foil robot, a mosaic made of bottle caps, or a backpack decorated with recycled material, the possibilities are endless. Setting up art installations around campus for the first, second, and third place winners encourages other students to adopt sustainable practices and be more conscious of the waste they produce in their day-to-day lives. After all, there’s no incentive like a blue ribbon.
Volunteer at (or start) a campus garden
By volunteering at a campus garden, you can grow organic crops right on school grounds to donate to foodbanks, shelters, or even your own campus dining hall. If your campus doesn’t have a garden, take the initiative to start one! Gather a team of volunteers and supporters, fundraise for supplies, choose a sunny spot on campus to grow some fruits and veggies, and start planting! Not only will you be helping your community, but you’ll also be promoting sustainability, making new friends, and perfecting your green thumb along the way.
Start a club to fight food waste
According to Recycling Works, college students produce 142 pounds of food waste per year. Luckily, there are ways to combat this unnecessary waste. Teaming up with similar-valued students and starting a food waste club on campus is a great way to save the leftovers that would otherwise get tossed in the trash at the end of the day. Go to your campus dining hall or food court each evening, pack up the leftover food with your Lunch Tote, and donate it to local shelters or foodbanks. This way, you’re saving food, fighting hunger, and helping your community all in one.
Start a bike share program
Bike share programs are popping up at colleges across the nation—after all, it’s one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable on campus. By opting for bike pedals over gas pedals, you can cut down drastically on gas emissions and pollution. According to the University of Montana, motor vehicles account for 30 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, 80 percent of carbon monoxide emissions, and more than 50 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions.
If your campus doesn’t have a bike share program, it’s never too late to start one! Work with your school administration to plan for one or two bike racks, ideally on opposite sides of campus. By utilizing this sustainable mode of transportation, the ozone layer will thank you. Not only is biking to class Earth-friendly, but it also gets your heart pumping—an obvious win-win.
With these five sustainability projects, you’re not only slimming down on your own eco footprint, but also teaching others how to be more sustainable this Earth Month. Saving the Earth may seem like a difficult feat while juggling classes, clubs, and other responsibilities, but these projects will benefit both you and the environment in the long run. Every little bit helps, and college is the perfect place to start making a difference in our planet’s future.