Get Involved

Chances are you are already taking part in conserving, recycling and composting. To see if you're covering your bases, here’s a rundown on some ways you can make a positive difference.

Join an Environmental Group or Organization

SEED logoStudents Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED) is a residence hall student group whose mission is to raise awareness and promote environmentally-sound practices in the residence halls among residents, staff and administration.

Take the One Thing Challenge and make a pledge to change one thing about: How you get around. . .What you eat. . .What you buy. . . The One Thing Challenge is a personal commitment to change one thing in your routine to be more environmentally friendly. There is also a friendly yearly autumn competition (the UW vs. WSU) to see who’s greenest.

Reduce Waste

  • Buy with reuse in mind. Purchase recycled and durable rather than disposable or one-time-use products.
  • Recycle as much as possible.
  • If you are dining in, use ceramic plates and metal silverware rather than take-out containers.
  • When purchasing coffee, bring your own mug. Consider whether or not you need a lid or a sleeve.
  • Compost food scraps and all compostable food containers and utensils in composting bins.
  • Reuse plastic or paper bags from stores.
  • Use the back of previously-used paper for notes or scratch paper.
  • Edit and review online to reduce paper use.
  • If possible, set your printer default to double-sided printing.
  • Try to avoid printing lecture note slides. If you must, print on scratch paper and print four or more to a page.

Save Energy

  • Take the stairs whenever possible.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • When possible, use natural daylight rather than electric lights.
  • Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). (Live in the halls? You can exchange your incandescent bulb for a CFL at your front desk.) 
  • Exchange or buy Energy Star-rated appliances, lighting and electronics such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, televisions, computers and printers.
  • Enable the sleep mode (instead of screen savers) on your computer and set the monitor to deactivate after ten minutes of nonuse.
  • Unplug all appliances and electronics when not in use.
  • Consider plugging all electronics, including cell phone chargers, into power strips so you can flip one switch to turn everything off at night or when you leave for a few days.
  • Wash clothes on the cold water cycle.

Conserve Water

  • Keep showers as short as possible. Turn off water in the shower while lathering or shaving.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Only wash full loads of laundry.
  • When washing many dishes by hand, fill a container with soapy water instead of washing dishes individually.

Cut Consumption

  • Choose local products to reduce the energy required to transport products to you.
  • Carry a tote bag for shopping so you do not have to use a plastic or paper bag.
  • Choose products containing the smallest amount of bleaches, dyes, fragrances or chemicals.

Decrease the Impact of Transportation

  • Use the U-PASS bus/light rail pass, which allows unlimited use of Seattle Metro buses, Snohomish County buses and local light rail. The U-PASS is provided at reduced cost as part of the student fees.
  • Walk, ride a bike, put your bike on a bus or take public transportation.
  • Carpool whenever possible.
  • If you are over age eighteen, use Flexcar, which is available on campus.
  • Inflate your car tires and check them monthly. Properly inflated tires can greatly increase gas mileage.