America’s ‘greenest’ colleges & the healthy habits we can learn from them
Colleges and universities are jolly green giants when it comes to eco-friendly practices, and there’s lots of healthy ideas we can borrow from them. Gone are the days when cafeterias served mystery meat. More and more, colleges are turning to local farms for dining hall fare and they’re hearing students’ requests for vegetarian and organic options. Schools are also encouraging students to ride their bikes instead of drive and new construction on campuses oftentimes adheres to green building standards.
The Princeton Review this month released its free Guide to Green Colleges that profiles 320 colleges in the United States and two in Canada. The guide is produced in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools and honors the environmentally friendly efforts being carried out on campuses.
Here’s what’s happening at colleges across the country, and ideas that we can incorporate into our own lives:
- Commute by bike. Students at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. get free coffee a couple of times a week if they bike or walk to campus, instead of driving and North Central College in Naperville, Ill. has a fleet of red cruiser bikes for students and employees needing to borrow some wheels. At Naropa University — a Buddhist-inspired college in Boulder, Colo. — employees are encouraged to bike to work and there are 120 bikes available on the campus. (In summer months, campus vehicles forego gasoline and instead use biodiesel). The New School in New York City offers indoor bike parking.
(When possible, run errands on a bike to burn some calories and save on gas. Want to ride in style? Check out a collection of cruiser bikes from Wayfair. You can easily attach a basket to a cruiser bike to carry groceries or other items you pick up while out on a ride).
- Food waste: Leftover food from dining halls at New York University is donated to local food banks and work-study students at Northland College in Ashland, Wis. compost food scraps for a community garden. At Ohio University in Athens, students work a community garden and donate some of their harvest to a local food bank.
(Feeding America maintains a database of local food banks where you can donate food and canned goods to help fight hunger).
- Local and organic foods: Sewanee — The University of the South in Tennessee has “Hen Hall,” a coup housing a dozen chickens that provide eggs and educational opportunities for students. There’s also a University Farm that supplies food for the dining hall and gives students a glimpse at the “farm-to-table” process. Also, a farmer’s market operates on campus once a week. At the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Fair Trade coffee is served, along with organic yogurt, cage-free eggs and hormone-free pork and chicken. At the University of California, Los Angeles students can enroll in an experiential learning course that allows them to investigate sources of food.
(Want to grow some of your own food? Get coupons and cash-back offers at Organic Gardening)
Other articles you might also like:
• Why brushing your teeth is so important + how it saves you money
• Race organizers increase security following Boston Marathon bombing
• Happy National Grilled Cheese Month. Here are some healthy recipes!
• 3 ways to celebrate Earth Day (and drop a few pounds, too!)
• Pole dancing as a workout? One mom says it has her in her best shape ever
• 7 free activities to put on your spring and summer must-do list