Going green mind-set closer to home than most students think

Rebecca Mohr

Go green. Two little words that carry a lot of responsibility.

With examples from various celebrities and world leaders, it may seem like the entire world is changing to environmentally friendly attitudes.

The new go green mind-set is closer to home than most college students think.

Residence Services has been making some changes.

“In October 2007 we ran an energy campaign/competition and reduced our energy usage by 12 percent for that month,” Marijean Benedik, assistant director of Residence Services, said.

All washers and dryers were changed to front-load models this summer. The new machines will reduce the amount of water being used in washing and shorten drying time.

The front-load washers and dryers are not the only changes the department is making to go green.

“Two years ago, we changed our housekeeping products to chemicals that are 99 percent green (and) therefore much more environment friendly,” Benedik said.

Simple green changes every student can make

&bull Dress appropriately for the weather and turn your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting.

&bull When doing your laundry, try to only run full loads (not overloaded). This will save you money and reduce energy costs.

&bull Plug-in battery chargers for cell phones and other devices can draw up to 20 times more energy than is stored in the battery – even when you are not actively charging a product. Unplug your cell phone, camera and camcorder charger when it is not in use.

&bull Aug. 21: Unfair labor practice claim filed by OASPE against PARTATake the stairs. The average elevator trip from one floor to the next uses 350 watts – this is the amount of energy needed to power a 100 watt light bulb for three hours.

&bull Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.

&bull Take shorter showers. Every two minutes in the shower uses approximately 10 gallons of water.

&bull Clean out the dryer lint screen. If everyone in America did so we’d save the energy equivalent of 350 million gallons of gasoline a year.

&bull Unplug your TV when you are not watching it -10 to 15 percent of a TV’s energy is still used when it’s powered off.

&bull Plug your printer and other computer accessories into a power strip. Turn off the strip when not using the items as an easy way to save power.

&bull Open your blinds instead of turning on overhead lighting

– it’s free.

Source: http://www.res.kent.edu/newres

She said the university installs low-flow shower heads, low-flow toilets and compact fluorescent light bulbs when building new halls and renovating existing ones.

Other departments at Kent State are also trying to protect to the environment.

The fleet of vehicles that the Department of Campus Environment and Operations uses is slowly turning over to hybrids or electrical cars.

“It will take several years because of the cost, and overall we want to reduce the amount of our fleet,” said Tom Dunn, director of campus environment and operations. “The way that technology is going and changing, we will be able to change most of our fleet.”

Students can do an array of simple things to conserve while living on campus.

If hybrid cars are not in a student’s budget, walking is an eco-friendly substitute.

“I’m not taking my car (to campus),” Sarah Bauer, freshman early childhood education major, said. “I’m bringing my bike and walking.”

Another simple thing students can do while living in the residence halls is recycle.

“Our goal is to not only have the students make efforts here to recycle and reduce energy but to continue this behavior at home,” Benedik said. “We saw an increase in recycling across our halls. What we found was students were ready to jump on board and the support was awesome. Our goal is to have this support continue and to watch both of these programs grow over the years to come.”

Malorie Simms, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said she thinks the best way to save the planet is for everyone to do small things.

“It may not seem like a lot to just recycle things and not leave everything plugged in and open the windows instead of using the air conditioning,” she said, “but it adds up over time. With everyone doing a little, we can accomplish a lot.”

Contact features reporter Rebecca Mohr at [email protected].