College Campuses are Banning Bottled Water

Even though many people have switched to reusable water bottles, the disposable kind are still common place. Many college campuses are looking to change that, as is the case with Macalester College and The College of St. Benedict.

These two schools have joined a nationwide movement that will ban disposable water bottles from their cafeterias and admissions offices. The College of St. Benedict is the ninth school in the nation to take things a little farther and completely ban the sale and purchase of water bottles on its campus entirely.

Apparently, this trend is not only affecting college campuses. Some cities, including New York City and San Francisco, have passed laws that ban the use of city money to buy bottles of water. There are even some cities that are considering banning the sale of these products within the city limits.

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Students Lean Toward Green Colleges

Money is always a concern, but college students of the 21st century have a new definition for the “green” associated with going to school. Incoming college freshmen are adding eco-friendly attributes to their lists of criteria when choosing a college. Colleges and universities across the country having been demonstrating an increasing commitment to sustainability and their efforts are paying off.

Financial aid, dorm conditions, degree programs, location, college size and a plethora of other factors still help determine student decisions but the “green” factor on campus is proving to climb the list. When comparing schools, many students now look at how colleges are addressing their carbon footprint and reducing damaging effects. To aid students in their eco-friendly quest the Princeton Review has released a guide to 311 colleges and universities that demonstrate the most dedication to going green. The list includes 308 schools in the U.S. and 3 in Canada.

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University of Maryland Students Boycott Bottled Water

Bottled water is a big no-no at the University of Maryland. Sure, water is a great alternative to soda and sugary juice, but it’s not water that students have a problem with; it’s the bottle.

The environmentally-conscious students are fed up with others using non-reusable containers to drink their water. Not only are they giving those students the cold shoulder, they’re asking administrators to stop selling bottled water on campus.

However, school administrators say banning bottled water could cause other problems. They don’t want to discourage students from drinking water. At a time when the “Freshman 15” is a norm on campus, universities want to be able to offer the healthiest choice from the vending machine.

“It’s definitely a complex issue,” said Aynsley Toews, coordinator of the University of Maryland Office of Sustainability. “Then there’s flavored water, there’s Vitamin water. What do you do with those?”

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Zimride Offers a New Way to Carpool

zimrideMany college students today are concerned with being economically- and environmentally-friendly. One popular way to live green is to share a car or carpool. This reduces the CO2 emissions in the air, which improves the quality of the air we breathe and also helps protect the ozone.

If you are not concerned about CO2 emissions and protecting the environment, another benefit of carpooling is that you might not have to look as hard for a parking spot. If the number of individual drivers goes down, then there will be fewer drivers trying to find spots to park their cars on campus. I know at my school, finding a parking spot is a huge problem, and we do carpool with the sole purpose of making it easier to find a place to park.

So obviously, carpooling is a great idea. But how can you find someone who is going to the same places you are at the same time?

This is where Zimride comes into the picture.

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Students Donate Hair to Help with Gulf Oil Spill

Hair nets collected by Matter of Trust for the Gulf oil spill rescue efforts.

Hair nets collected by Matter of Trust for the Gulf oil spill rescue efforts.

After I wrote the blog about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it seemed appropriate to find out how students all across the nation are lending their support to the rescue efforts.

There has been a national campaign by established by Matter of Trust that sends human hair to Louisiana to be combined with nylons – yes,  like panty hose-  to create nets of hair that will essentially sop up the oil in the Gulf.

At Grand Blanc’s Brendel Elementary, the Bulldogs have started their “Save the Sea” program and have transformed their gym into a hair salon, where students, teachers and staff are donating anywhere from one to 14 inches of hair.

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Prom Dress Made Out of Gum Wrappers

Gum wrapper prom dress: Image via OregonLive.com

Gum wrapper prom dress: Image via OregonLive.com

Prom is a great part of high school. I was lucky enough to attend three proms, and each year, I got a fancier dress. My first year, it was simple and black; by the third year, it was sequined and glittery and so puffy I could not fit through some doors. I admit, my outfit choices probably were not the best decisions I have ever made. At the time though, I felt very cool.

However, I will never be as cool – or environmentally friendly– as Elizabeth Rasmuson.

Rasmuson is a high school junior in Garner, Iowa, and will be attending the prom with her boyfriend, Jordan Weaver, this spring.

Okay, so what’s so special about this couple? How about the fact that they made their prom attire out of gum wrappers?

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Young Girl Calls Out BP on Gulf Oil Spill

Photo Courtesy of Brian Merchant

Image Via Brian Merchant

The media coverage for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana has caused BP to receive criticism from across the nation, but most recently from Lauren Spaulding, 14, who confidently stepped up to the podium at a tense town hall-style meeting that included fishermen, federal officials, and BP representatives near Houma, Louisiana.

Spaulding confronted BP inquiring about the company’s lack of initiative to educate children about the recent disaster.

Politely, but directly, she asked BP whether the company had planned on distributing teaching materials to schools, pointing out that children are also concerned about the spill, wanted to learn more about the situation and how they could potentially help. Spaulding also mentioned how children are just as environmentally-conscious as adults.

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Bing’s Earth Day Photo Contest

bingIf you have a camera and a passion for the environment, then this is the contest for you!

Bing.com is sponsoring an Earth Day photo contest for students. This contest will allow “students to honor Earth Day and spend some time outside learning about and photographing their natural environment.”

Bing will feature the winning photos on its homepage during Earth Week, April 13-April 19. And in addition gopro cameras are expected to be used during the competition, given its capability to capture good quality photos.

The process is very simple. First, you upload your photos that inspire “people to care about the environment“ to Bing, and then people can vote for their favorite photos. After the finalists have been selected, up to 20,000 finalists will receive $5 gift cards to DonorsChoose.org, a website that allows you to make a charitable donation to any classroom project you chose.

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Sustainability Degrees Mean Green Careers for College Students

It’s a growing trend amongst college students – sustainability degrees. As the environment continues to be a pressing concern for all generations, Generations Y and Z are in a prime position to make their career paths greener than most. green degrees

With an increase in popularity of “green collar” jobs, colleges and universities are broadening their degree offerings to include those that focus on sustainability – including MBAs in sustainable business practices and technical training.

Demand for graduates from these degree programs continues to grow as interest in studying sustainability grows. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved – the universities, the students, and the businesses. Read the rest of this entry »

Students in India Invent an Air-Powered Motorcycle

It is no secret that India suffers from a terrible pollution problem. However, a group of engineering students may have found a solution to that problem – an economical and affordable mode of transportation that is pollution free and eco-friendly. Their answer? A motorcycle powered solely by air.

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