Green Dorm Living

One great way to make eco-friendly lifestyle changes is in the place that students spend so much of their time – your dorm room! By making just a few changes to what’s in your dorm room and how you utilize it, you can begin to live more sustainably.

There are lots of ways for Rochester students to make their dorm life more ecofriendly and sustainable. O’Brien residence hall is a LEED Gold Certified building, and was designed with the environment in mind. By living in O’Brien, students can be assured that they are helping to lead more sustainable practices on our campus. Students can also become involved with GreenSpace, special interest housing designed for students interested in leading sustainable lifestyles.

If you’re interested in living somewhere else on campus, don’t worry. There are numerous ways that you can make wherever you’re living eco-friendly! Check out 5 simple tips for keeping your living space green:


  1. Buy local

You’ve probably heard this phrase when talking about buying produce and other food, but it applies to what you put in your dorm as well. When looking for pieces to furnish your room with, try getting items locally. It will cut down on the carbon emissions that would be produced by shipping furniture from all over the country.

  1. Buy used…or get it for free!

In addition to keeping your purchases local, you can look into websites like Craigslist and Freecycle, and you can check out local consignment shops. By reusing gently used furniture, you can help cut down on waste.

  1. Try bedding made of organic cotton

When purchasing sheets, comforters, and towels, try to find products made with organic cotton, which is grown without the use of pesticides. You can also look for products made of flax, which can be grown with much less water.

  1. Go with reusable

Go with reusable silverware, dishes, and cups when buying for your dorm. You should also invest in a reusable water bottle and coffee mug, the latter of which will not only cut down on waste, but save you money! You can fill up for reusable mug with coffee of tea for only $1.19 anywhere on campus.

  1. Keep electronics in check

Micro fridges can use up a lot of energy, so try to buy one that has an Energy Star certification. You should also unplug electronics when you’re not using them, because even when not used, devices can suck up “phantom power” that is put to waste. To make unplugging easier, you can put all of your electronics on a power strip, and simply turn it off when you’re not using them or when you’re leaving the room.


Ciara McGillivray, Class of 2018

Photo: O’Brien Hall, University of Rochester



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