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Sustainability at WSU Rocks this Fall!

We’ve had a Great 2011 Fall Term kicking off with a big emphasis on sustainability for Freshman Orientation. Two Adopt-A-Highway clean up events were held this fall to make sure that the two miles stretch of I-675 near campus is litter-free. The very successful "Get Outside and Click" Photo contest and the winning photos are highlighted in WSU Newsroom piece. Also, three Fair Trade Coffee Sales were held during weeks 9 and 10, sponsored by Gang Green and the Office of Sustainability to spread the word about the importance of supporting Fair Trade. Fall Term was just great with so many ways to be involved with sustainability on WSU campus.

As you leave campus don’t forget:

The Practice of Sharing and Conserving It still comes down to Recycle, Reuse and Reduce!

As you finish Fall 2011, and you start thinking about leaving to head for home, do an inventory – what food do you have in the frig? What electronic devices do you have plugged in to the sockets? What is the thermostat set on? Is the frig set on high for a nearly empty bottle of ketchup? Could you clean it out your refrigerator and turn it off? Tips on unplugging your frig→

The tasty perishable food items from your now- unplugged refrigerator? Well… maybe mom would appreciate you bringing something home beyond your laundry! Tell her it is in the spirit of giving and thanksgiving.  It is very easy to become caught up in the ever-present hype of the holidays, especially with those ever-present commercials – I mean, what says love like a Mercedes coupe or a huge flat screen TV, right? No need to go broke for the holidays, rather than run up your credit card balance, pause for a moment and examine the spirit of giving. Finding “new homes” for what you don’t need to someone who does need it means less to care for and maintain, less to insure and keep track of, even less to clean! 

You can also simplify your gift giving with homemade gifts or beautiful handmade items and you’ll not only spend less and give more meaningful gifts, you’ll also save time usually wasted on endless trips to shop at the mall. There’s much to be said for simple things like homemade jams and jellies, pies and cakes, a bird feeder, coupons for a car wash and wax, the list is only limited by your imagination (and, yeah, maybe your abilities). Another idea is a personalized photo album or life story to capture the big and everyday events in someone’s life or a genealogy search. Rewarding for the person who makes it and very meaningful for the recipient.

Another way to think about simplicity is to examine our tech-heavy world, we have so many electric gadgets and gizmos – seriously, count the number of plugs in the wall! There is a movement (perhaps a revolution, root word revolt) to simplify our lives and reconnect with what Really matters most – our sense of belonging to a community and our relationships with others. The more is less tells some powerful stories of people transforming their lives and being truly happy. While you look around your space doing your inventory, think about what you need--really need.  There’s an interesting Back to Basics series, "Living Better with Less," on the evening news where reporters talk to folks who are finding that simplifying their lives brings them joy and peace. Check out some of these other great websites and blogs for more tips on living simply:

Sounds like a wonderful present, eh?

So, as you do your pre-break inventory, keep some of these tips in mind:  help our community AND keep items out of the landfills by donating those nonperishable food items you might otherwise have thrown out to the newly-established WSU Emergency Food Pantry contact:  Rebecca Fensler or come by the Community Service Learning office, 128 Millett Hall). Also, donate those out-of-season or ill-fitting clothing items from your closet (as well as linens and other household items) to Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul (bonus: you can deduct these donations on your taxes!). 

Practice for Winter Term, Prepare for Your Life. In preparation for the upcoming Winter Term Events (like RecycleMania), let’s start to get in shape with some “practice”.  Turn out the lights, adjust the temperature of your frig and thermostat, turn off and unplug those clocks and electronics that you are not taking home with you. Why have them drawing electricity when you are not even here? Think long-term Happiness and Sustainability – you may just discover Joy and Peace (within you).

Have a safe and happy Break!

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Your daily actions speak louder than words.

How you can make a difference every day

In this column we will explore more topics, people, ideas and projects related to sustainability during 2015 – 2016.

Recyclemania 2015

Just a couple of weeks to go! Recyclemania 2015 is coming to a close.

We are in Week 6 of our annual eight week RecycleMania competition. Clean out those files, clear those shelves -- be sure you are doing your part to Recycle as much as possible before the end of next week.

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