There are plenty of ways to make a dent in your ecological footprint without completely changing your life, so sustainability can be a way of life for everyone. But, it does require a conscious effort to take the small steps necessary to make a difference.
Binghamton’s annual energy conservation contest pits residential communities against each other to find out who the greenest residents on campus are. At the end of six weeks, the community measuring the greatest percentage reduction in electric usage wins a $20,000 prize.
Sharing your passion
Student and grassroots groups are a fun and easy way to meet others with a similar passion for the environment.
Student groups include:
- The Student Environmental Awareness Club sponsors events on campus (including Earth Day), hosts speakers and movies, and provides learning opportunities at local elementary schools and the Discovery Center.
- The Binghamton Food Co-op began in the 1970s as an alternative to dining halls. This nonprofit, student-run organization offers healthy, low-cost organic produce, ingredients and personal care products for anyone interested. They also serve lunch daily.
- The student-driven Compost Organic Garden Demonstration Project aims to promote composting and organic gardening through active demonstrations.
- The Campus Climate Challenge at Binghamton University is part of a project set up by more than 30 leading youth organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Challenge is growing a generation-wide movement to stop global warming by reducing the pollution from colleges down to zero, and leading our society to a clean-energy future. At Binghamton we are focusing on helping the campus respond to the President’s Climate Commitment, reducing the University’s carbon footprint.
- NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) has an active Binghamton University chapter. It's the state's largest nonpartisan, student-directed organization focused on developing student leaders, teaching valuable skills, fighting for students' rights and advocating for issues important to students, including environmental protection.
Grassroots groups pair campus members with the greater community to broaden their sustainability efforts.
Active efforts include:
- The Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition — a source for sustainability training and education and a center for advocacy networking and coordination. The BRSC sponsors the Harpur Dean’s Workshop on Sustainability and is collaborating with the Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies on a new course: Sustainability and Social Movement.
- Binghamton University students, faculty, staff and community members make up Friends of the Nature Preserve. This group dedicates itself to trail upkeep, habitat enhancement, guiding walks and education hikes.
Earth Day is the only event celebrated simultaneously around the globe by more than 1 billion people. Each April, it’s commemorated by an outdoor event hosted by the Student Environmental Awareness Club, offering displays and educational activities for the campus and community. Learn more about this national event at earthday.org.
The Go Green Institute invites the Southern Tier’s brightest seventh graders for a 10-day, hands-on learning experience focused on a greener living environment. Students explore science, math and engineering as they relate to sustainability in labs, the Nature Preserve and by visiting local organizations including BAE Systems and the Broome County Landfill.
Here are a few easy tips to help you lower your ecological footprint:
- Unplug electronics when you're not using them -- 25% of electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the product is off, so consider using a power strip and switch it off to cut all power from your appliances
- Wash clothes in cold water -- about 90% of energy used by a washing machine goes to heating the water
- Use homemade cleaners -- check out our easy recipes
- Activate the power management features on your computers and monitors
More energy conservation tips can be found at the University's Physical Facilities website.
Doing our part
Sodexo Campus Services, the University’s food-service provider, uses seasonal organic produce and dairy products from local farmers. Additionally, on average they compost approximately 180 tons of food waste each semester.