New Year’s isn’t the only time for resolutions — the start of a new school year is the perfect opportunity to set some goals. Here are nine healthy and sustainable habits to inspire you this August.
1. Eating green
To start off the new school year with energy and excitement, make sure you’re confident in what you’re eating. As a college student, eating healthy can be expensive and time-consuming. It’s completely understandable. It helps to think of it as an investment in your future. As you continue to eat healthy, your mood, concentration and energy levels will improve. All three are perfect things to tackle as you embark on a new year of challenging classes.
With that being said, try following the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s own Michael Pollan’s simple rules: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Not only will you be eating with balance, but it will be easier on the environment. The meat industry is one of the most damaging food systems, not to mention its products are expensive. Eating mostly plant-based is better for the environment and your wallet.
2. Reusing old school supplies
One of my favorite parts of going back to school is stocking up on new supplies. However, this summer, I did some desk cleaning first and found many perfectly good extra notebooks and binders. In the end, I didn’t have to buy a single thing, and the feeling of being able to maximize my resources was more rewarding than just buying too much.
Pro tip: If you’re a fan of planners, buy a 17-month one if they’re offered. That way, you can use the same planner for multiple school years.
3. Taking care of school tech
Maximizing your resources isn’t just within your own dorm room or apartment space. Make sure you’re using your school’s devices with care. Once again, you’re doing yourself and others a favor by extending a computer’s lifespan.
Here’s another pro tip: If you see a library computer that has a glitch, let a librarian know. The sooner they see, the sooner students can get back to studying.
4. Get a library card
There’s no doubt you’ll be doing a lot of reading this school year. Whether that’s for fun or for class, a library card can cover it all. Textbooks, novels and newspapers — the library has it all, and at no cost to you! Get a library card and get reading today.
5. Avoid waste in the dining halls
Food waste is a big issue across the globe, but it can be especially prevalent in restaurants and dining halls. There’s no doubt you’ll be a frequent visitor at these places, so do your best to minimize your waste here. Got leftovers? Stick them in the fridge and heat them up to enjoy later, don’t just toss them out. Once again, you’ll be saving time, money and energy (yours and the planet’s).
6. Buy real plates
Here’s another food prep tip: At the beginning of the school year, invest in some reusable plates. Make sure they’re easy to wash and durable so they can last you through your college career. It can be tempting to just eat off disposable plates in college — especially if you’re in a dorm with limited space. However, keeping your plates clean and in order will help you dedicate some very important time to eating healthy meals and create motivation to keep your space clean. Plus, you won’t be wasting a ton of plastic or paper — or money.
7. Cook and share food with roommates
Continuing with the “no food waste” theme this semester, cooking with friends is a great way to bond with roommates and minimize your waste. When you’re all finished, you can split up the leftovers between each other, which will save you some time later in the week. Additionally, your carbon footprint will be reduced.
8. Walking is the new Uber
If you need to get to class or a function that’s within reasonable walking distance, try not taking an Uber. Get some movement in before your next class all while getting to know your campus more, too. You’ll feel more relaxed by the time you get there, and your wallet will thank you.
9. Clipper Card
This a tip that everyone knows by now. All UC Berkeley students receive a Clipper Card, the key to public transportation in the Bay Area. It’s part of your tuition, so it’s a good idea to take advantage while you can. This way, you can get around the Bay at a good rate, and you don’t have to worry about driving. Have I mentioned it’s better for the Earth?
As the school year approaches, keep these tips in mind to have a green start.