Personal Actions: What You Can Do

Every action counts. Your personal actions influence your habits and those around you. Be a good example - it'll help yourself and your planet!

Ways to Reduce Your Footprint While:

Although this list is written for dorms and college libraries, many of these practices can be applied to offices, apartments, homes, and more.

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In Your Room

  • If you have the option, only run your heat and air condition when you're in your room (information about how to operate your units can be found here)
  • Instead of adjusting the temperature in your room to be more comfortable, adjust your clothing - put on a sweatshirt or take off a layer
  • Invest in LED lights for your personal lamps
  • Use natural sunlight whenever you can
  • Only turn on your lights when you need them - and don't forget to turn them off!
  • Unplug unused or less frequently used items - they're still using energy
  • In the winter, and in the summer if your dorm has AC, make sure your windows are closed tight - leaky and open windows require a lot more energy to keep your room comfortable

In the Classrooms

  • Shut off all AV equipment after use
  • Turn off the lights 
  • Use natural lighting during the day

In the Dining Halls and Cafes

  • Take as much as you're willing to eat - you can always go back for more 
  • Limit the number of take out containers you use
  • Eat in before choosing to take out
  • If you decide to eat on the go, ditch the plastic utensils - keep a set of reusable utensils in your bag!
  • Bring your own travel mugs instead of taking a paper cup
  • Don't use a straw

In the Laundry Room

  • Use the drying racks located in the laundry rooms
  • Use cool water - it makes your clothes last longer, and your clothes are still just as clean as if you used hot water
  • Only do laundry if you have a full load
  • Do your laundry less frequently - rewear items before washing
  • Use eco-friendly laundry products
  • Empty out the lint in the dryer

In the Library

  • Print double sided
  • Print two pages per side
  • Do your readings on your computer instead of printing
  • Use black and white ink instead of colored ink

In the Bathroom and Kitchen

  • Don't run the water while you're brushing your teeth or washing dishes
  • Shorten your shower
  • Use slightly cooler water than you usually do - heating requires energy too!
  • Turn off the lights when you leave
  • Recycle! Toilet paper and paper towel rolls, plastic bottles, and more can be recycled


  • Look for items that are fair trade or organic
  • When buying items in containers, look for plastics, metals, and glass that can be recycled
  • Think about whether or not you really need it before you buy it
  • Buy food items in bulk - doing this reduces the amount of packaging
  • Always bring a reusable bag!
  • Buy things used - thrift stores, free boxes, and other places of resale are great resources
  • Consider shopping at a local store before going to a chain store
  • If given the option, request an e-receipt instead of a paper receipt