Going GREEN On Campus

5 Easy (& Cheap!) Ways to Go Green at American University

American University is on track to become a carbon-neutral university by 2020. What is carbon neutrality you may ask? Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent offset. I am here to give you a few tips on how to live more sustainably as a college student, but also in your everyday life!

Believe it or not, you can be kind to the planet and save money without much effort at all. Adopting a greener lifestyle is easy with five tips:

1. Use Reusable Bags
Bring reusable bags with you when going to the grocery store instead of opting for paper or plastic. You save money and reduce waste. If you forget your bags at home or have a spur-of-the-moment grocery shopping trip, make sure you save your bags to reuse them. Using them as trash or recycle bags in your dorm is a great way to reuse them without throwing them out directly.

2. Buy Less or Borrow
Only buy what you need. Some of the best advice I have gotten in life is, “Less is more”. If we are on the topic of cheesy inspirational quotes, I am also a big fan of, “If it doesn’t nourish your soul or mind, don’t keep it” and “Collect moments, not things”. We live in a consumer culture and it is very easy to fall into the habit of overbuying unnecessary products. As a college student, we are also often overwhelmed with FREE things all the time! Which are great, but it is important to remind yourself if you truly need the item, or if it will just end up on your bookshelf or desk drawer at home. If you only purchase what is necessary, you will not only be going green, but you will be saving money on much more valuable experiences as well!

3. Walk or Bike More
The AU shuttle is great in that it runs on biodiesel, helping the university reduce emissions and save money. Unfortunately, we all miss the shuttle at times and are stuck waiting for another to come 20 or 30 minutes later. Instead of waiting and wasting time, walk into Tenleytown or your destination. With a brisk pace, it can take you as fast as 10 minutes, or on average 15 minutes to get to the Tenleytown metro station. This is a great way to get moving, be outdoors, and arrive at your destination in the same amount of time.

I highly recommend walking as much as you can in the city as well. I believe the best way to see and learn a city is by foot. You can cover a lot of ground that you have otherwise missed if you only traveled by metro or Uber. The majority of us sit for multiple hours a day, maybe only walking from class to class. It’s important to take time out of your busy day to get fresh air; this will help you be more productive and focused later on.

4. B.Y.O _____
If you are willing to bring your own drinks or snacks to a party, why not bring your own water bottle, shopping bag, travel mug, snacks, etc. around with you for the sake of the Earth? Fortunately, many college students travel with reusable water bottles. I personally am very attached to my water bottle, I love to give it some personality by adding my favorite stickers to show what I care about. It can also be a great conversation starter! Having your own water bottle can save you lots of money and saves plastic from being wasted and not recycled.

Join the Mug Club at the Davenport Coffee Lounge! Purchase a reusable mug from the Dav for $100 and get UNLIMITED free refills of drip coffee for the entire semester, without waiting in line!

5. Go to the Farmers Market!
We are very fortunate to have our own farmers market on campus, every single week of the semester. Get your favorite fruit, bread, sweets, drinks, and more on the quad next to Bender Library every Wednesday from 11am-4pm. Buying local is a great way to support sustainable farms and businesses. By purchasing directly from the farmers, you are reducing your carbon footprint and nourishing your body with the best possible ingredients. Another great farmer’s market to visit is the DuPont Farmer’s Market which runs all year on Sunday’s from 8:30am-1:30pm. Hop on any of the N-busses and you will be there in no time!

I hope you can take some of these few tips with you throughout your everyday lives here at American University and spread the message about being a more sustainable college student. Remember to be conscious of your environment and choose a more Earth-friendly path whenever possible!

Green looks great on you,
Nicole Turner, Wellness Ambassador

 

Getting Greens into your Diet

Dark leafy greens have been proven to contain a great deal of nutrients that support a health body and mind. The most common greens found are spinach, kale, broccoli, and arugula. The USDA recommends individuals consume about 2.5 to 3 cups of greens per day, which is easier to achieve than you may think!

Vitamins and Minerals

Dark leafy greens are known for their abundance of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, K, and E. These vitamins are essential for growth and maintaining tissues within the body. Dark leafy greens also contain B vitamins, including folate, which help maintain DNA duplication and prevent cancer! Dark leafy greens are a great nutrient dense choice, meaning you can receive a large amount of nutrients for relatively few calories.

Best ways to include Greens in Meals

Some of my favorite ways to include dark leafy greens into my diet are in soups and stir-frys! By simply adding a handful of spinach or kale to any canned soup you can make the meal heartier and more nutrient dense! Next time you think about making stir-fry, try using cauliflower rice, some coconut milk, a cup or two of spinach, and a little curry paste for the perfect simply curry stir-fry dish!

Buying Greens

When purchasing dark leafy greens, keep in mind lettuces will be a bit more mild and sweet tasting compared to some of the more bitter greens such as swiss chard. Fall is the best time to purchase dark leafy greens because they are in season, which means they may also be sold for cheaper! Buying pre-cut and cleaned dark leafy greens may be easier for prepping, but keep in mind the unprepared greens will likely save you some extra cash!

Best of luck,

Zoe Rosner, Wellness Ambassador

 

Fitness Outside

As spring is quickly approaching, we want to encourage you all to engage in activities outdoors while the weather is improving! There are so many fun (and free) places to visit all around Washington D.C.! Get off campus for a minute and see what the city has to offer!

Explore Rock Creek Park

  1. Rent a bike or take a walk through this awesome 4.4-square-mile park!
  2. Explore the various hiking and biking trails and be sure to stop by the nature center!
  3. Grab some friends and explore the picnic areas and tennis courts!

Walk or run along the C&O Canal Towpath in Georgetown

Grab your hiking boots and join the bikers trekking their way down the C&O Canal Towpath!

This path runs along the Potomac River from Georgetown and stretches all the way up to Cumberland, MD.

Be prepared for some awesome sights along the way!

 

Take a trip to Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park is the perfect place to explore nature and is only a 30-minute drive from DC.

The 800 acres of parkland consists of hiking trails, casca rapids and amazing waterfalls

Grab your friends, rent a Zipcar, and explore this beautiful site!

Explore the National Arboretum

The National Arboretum is a 446-acre park with a plethora of flowers and bonsai trees! It is also home to the original Capitol Columns.

The park also has designated areas for picnicking and relaxing.

Enjoy your time outside!

Julia Snegg, Wellness Ambassador