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Everyone can do their part to help lower emissions and live a sustainable lifestyle. Here are some ways to get involved.
Living green in the residence halls

Living Sustainably

Moving in

Throughout the year, especially come move-out day, students throw out a large number of items because they realize that a number of what they brought with them are not practical nor useful in the residential halls. Packing for college can be a daunting task, and we're here to help you prepare smartly and sustainably, while also working towards minimizing waste at the end of the year! 

Check out our Packing Guide for helpful suggestions on what to bring and what to leave behind. 


Continuing on the theme of waste reduction, we are relying on your help to improve our recycling rates! All residential halls use a two-stream recycling system, which means that there is a bin for paper and another for plastics, glass and metals. Additionally, we have E-waste recycling centers all over campus for electronic devices

Please take a moment to visit our Recycling page or read our recycling guide to become familiar with what is recyclable on campus. 

General Tips

Here are a few things that we can all do to reduce our individual environmental impact. We promise, they're not difficult!
  1. Turn off the lights when not in use. Get in the habit of flipping the light switch off every time you leave a room.
  2. Switch to LED light bulbs. LEDs use 75-80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer. 
  3. Plug all electronics into a power strip or a Smart Strip. Electronic devices continue to consume energy even when they are turned off, known as "phantom load." Plug all your electronics to a power strip and remember to turn it off to reduce energy waste from phantom load. 
  4. Turn down heating. Set the thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours a day when you're not in your room, and make sure to keep it at 55° during academic breaks when you head home. 
  5. Wash laundry in cold water. Most clothes do not need a hot or warm water rinse as detergents today are capable of cleaning clothes in cold water. To save on water, wash only full loads of laundry. 
  6. Purchase ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics. These appliances meet strict energy efficiency criteria established by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  7. Make your fridge energy efficient. Keep your fridges coils clean to boost its overall power and store jugs of water in empty spaces as water helps retain coldness better than air. 
  8. Turn off the tap! Turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth saves 25 gallons a month. Turn it off while you are washing your hair and you save up to 150 gallons a month. While shaving, you save up to 300 gallons a month. 
  9. Report damages. Leakages or dripping faucets should be reported to Facilities

Buying local positively impacts your community and reduces the environmental impact of your event.

Campus Resources


University life creates unique opportunities for everyone — from students in dorms, to faculty and staff in their offices — for adopting a sustainable lifestyle. We have excellent programs in place to help everyone be great environmental stewards.

Green Events

At Colgate University, we strive to integrate sustainability in all aspects of campus life. Events are known to be resource-intensive, but it does not have to be that way! The Office of Sustainability created a planning guide to provide a list of suggestions that will help lessen the environmental impact of on- and off-campus events. 

Read the Green Events guide

Faculty and Staff Salvage

The Purchasing Department has an online list of items and goods recovered from Colgate's departments and offices that are available for purchase or exchange by other offices at the university. Before buying something new for your office, take a look at the list of available items!