Students Going Green
Focusing on the sustainable environment as a student can help you reduce your ecological footprint while at the same time stepping in the right direction for your future career path.
As the global warming debate increases its heat in society, universities are picking up on the need to teach students the importance of being environmentally friendly in their future places of work. The Calgary Herald recently stated that “so-called “green jobs” are growing at more than twice the rate of traditional jobs in Canada–9.1 per cent over the last decade compared with the average of 3.7 per cent”(Sankey, 2009). Starting to incorporate sustainable thinking into your student life not only does the obvious, which is to help the environment, but can give you a competitive edge in a job market that is increasingly catering to environmentally friendly applicants.
Many colleges and universities are offering programs that are entirely environmentally focused. If you are passionate about the environment, this is a great route to take, as it will allow you to not only embrace your passion, but enter a growing and dynamic industry. Some examples of environmentally focused programs are:
- Trent University’s degree in Environmental and Resource Studies
- York University’s Faculty of Environment offers a wide variety of environmentally focused programs ranging from environmental design to ecofeminist politics.
- Seneca College’s Environmental Technician program
This is just a small sampling, and most post secondary institutions offer similar programs. If a program entirely devoted to the environment is not for you, try to take some sustainability focused course along your educational path.
Incorporating environmentally friendly thinking into your everyday campus life will not only contribute to improving the natural environment, but can help you to obtain skills and knowledge that will give added value to your employers in the work place. Here are some great ways to be environmentally friendly in your university life:
- Walk, bike, bus to school. Many schools offer bus passes included in tuition or a discount on monthly passes. As well, Bixi Bikes, available in places like Toronto and Montreal, is a great way to get around (Bixi Bikes, 2010). Bixi Bikes provides the ability to rent a bike from one location, and drop it off at another. On campus parking can be expensive and scarce, so alternative transportation is not only great for the environment, but also great on your wallet.
- Buy used text books instead of new ones, which is also a wallet-friendly environmental move.
- Save paper! If your professor allows it, email in assignments instead of hard copies. If you are required to hand in hard copies, print on both sides!
- Bring a travel mug to school for your coffee – most coffee places will offer you a discount. When you think of all the time spent at school, and all the coffees you will drink, the savings can actually add up! The same goes for reusable bottles for water.
- If you are doing your own groceries, bring a backpack and reusable bags to the grocery store. If you are eating in the cafeteria, bring a container for leftovers so you do not waste food, and get a snack for later.
A pro-environmental attitude in university can be a spring board for a lifetime focus on sustainable living, which will only become increasingly important in years to come.