Planning Ahead - Green Living

Students regularly visit and work with local farms

At St. Lawrence, sustainability — meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs — is a goal for everyone, including students. You will learn more about sustainability once you arrive on campus; meanwhile, there are some things you can keep in mind.

The Green Shopping List
For starters, “think green” in compiling the things you plan to bring with you. With input from several people, we’ve developed a “green shopping list” that you should keep in mind.

The first thing on the list is some advice:

  • Don’t buy so much stuff.
  • You can start your eco-aware life at college by sharing items with your roommate — check with him or her so you don’t duplicate.
  • If you plan on waiting to buy shelves, rugs, lamps and other accessories until you see how things fit in your room, you can visit the Barn Good Thrift Store – our student-run thrift store – to pick up pre-loved items for cheap (seniors leave GREAT stuff).

Here’s more, some of which applies to what you should get and some to how you should use it once you get here:

  • Purchase only ENERGY STAR labeled TVs, DVD players, computers and microwaves — they use 10 to 50 percent less energy.
  • Wondering just how much electricity your residence hall is using and how your behaviors can reduce the total?  Check out our BUILDING DASHBOARD.
  • Easy to find brands that produce ENERGY STAR refrigerators that are 3 cu. ft. or less include; Avanti, Black & Decker, Danby/Silhouette, Frigidaire, and Haier. Note that while many box stores carry these brands not all models are ENERGY STAR and sometimes the ENERGY STAR models are only available through the store’s website.
  • Of course, not having one of these products is even better — many residences have common-area TVs and refrigerators.
  • If you must buy one of these items, but don’t want to purchase an ENERGY STAR item, consider a used model. The production of new models adds to carbon emissions.
  • Mind the “phantom load” — many computers, gaming systems, stereos, TVs, cell phones, cameras and iPod chargers draw electricity even when turned off. Unplug them when not in use, or plug them into a powerstrip and turn off the strip when not in use.
  • Flipping that switch and turning the powerstrip off is probably the most important energy-saving measure you can take.Can’t remember to turn it off? Try a SmartStrip.
  • Buy only compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs and if you really want to save energy, try LEDs.
  • We love our cars, but a bike comes in handy around campus and for town use. If you need to fix a flat, or make a quick adjustment stop by one of our two “FixIT Stations.” (St. Lawrence’s science library is the headquarters of “green bikes,” which you can check out for 4 hours to a designated location — think ZipCars on two wheels.)
  • Bring your own reusable bottle/coffee cup (we have a few hydration stations for filling water bottles). St. Lawrence offers free refills on beverages and a discount when you bring your own cup. This all helps reduce disposable cup and water bottle production.
  • Bring reusable bags to carry books, groceries and other items you buy.
  • Use organic fibers for your sheets, rugs and curtains produced without toxic chemicals. Hemp and bamboo fiber are becoming more popular, and many of the companies using organic fibers recycle and use fair labor practices.

Practicing What We Preach
At St. Lawrence University, sustainability is built into the University’s core values and guides its curriculum and learning outside the classroom as well as its operations, including purchasing, physical plant development and grounds maintenance.

St. Lawrence’s Board of Trustees approved a student-initiated resolution making sustainability a core University value in 2006, and in 2007 President Emeritus Daniel Sullivan joined now 680 college presidents in signing a declaration of commitment to climate neutrality. St. Lawrence is a leader in the campus sustainability movement because of top-level commitment, but also because its students, faculty and staff have acted on that commitment in creative and meaningful ways.

Among examples:

  • Green Building - The new residence hall, was designed with Sustainability in mind, including the use of geothermal to heat and cool the building. Johnson Hall of Science, opened in fall of 2007 and the University’s largest construction project ever, features the latest sustainable design. It has received a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Design Commission.
  • Adirondack Semester and Sustainability Semester - two of our off-campus programs; both focus on the development of living-learning communities and address different aspects of environmental sustainability.
  • Green Bikes — the Launders Science library is one of the few libraries in the nation that not only loans books, but also bikes to students, faculty and staff for campus and local travel.
  • The Green House — students live in a low-impact theme cottage, live sustainable lifestyles and develop campus educational programming for other students.
  • Sustainable Food Systems — campus dining services consults with local farmers and student organizations (Food Justice and Seed to Table) to purchase a variety of locally grown food; they also have their own campus herb garden.
  • Green Guide — a student-written guide that offers students energy conservation, water conservation and recycling tips. It’s part of our Green Pages.
  • Greening Your Dorm Room — students can request a mini-energy/sustainability audit that will rate their living space and help them to live green.
  • The Barn Good Thrift Store – a student-run thrift store that has many useful dorm items that were used by those living at SLU before you. Remember to donate items you no longer want.
  • There are many groups working toward sustainability that would love your help:
    The Environmental Action Organization, Committee on Sustainability and Climate Neutrality and the Green House

Waste Not...
The Environmental Conservation Committee of the Thelomathesian Society (“Thelmo,” the student government) encourages incoming first-year students to make wise and educated decisions concerning the environment.

  • Make sure computers and other appliances are set to energy-saving modes when not in use.
  • Low-energy compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs should be used in desk lamps and overhead lighting.
  • The extensive recycling program in all residences includes proper disposal of batteries, light bulbs and other toxic waste products.

Please take the time to dispose of all waste properly in the appropriate location to keep the St. Lawrence campus clean.