End of Semester (Sustainable) To-Do List

The end of the semester is a stressful time for everyone, but as you finish your exams and prepare to leave campus, make environmentally-conscious choices with this handy to-do list!  Sustainable choices are often easier on you in the long run, but most importantly, your community and your planet will thank you.

  • Make environmentally-conscious travel plans. Use WSO ride share or Switchboard to carpool, reduce emissions, and make new friends! This student-created sustainable transportation guide provides tips for how to get places more sustainably.  Did you know that direct flights are more energy-efficient than multi-stop flights?
  • Unplug appliances and devices. Even if they’re turned off, your electronics still use energy while plugged in. Make sure to unplug your lamps, TVs, game consoles, chargers, etc.  If you use a power strip, remember to turn it off.  (If you don’t use a power strip, check out this student blogpost about how they can reduce your energy use.)
  • If you have a mini fridge, unplug and empty it. After unplugging your mini fridge, make sure to eat, compost, or dispose of any leftover food. You’ll thank yourself later if you also clean the fridge!
  • Donate things you no longer need. Clean and gently used clothing can be donated to benefit ABC Greylock in the built-in containers at the back of Paresky (near the Park Street entrance).* 
  • Help wayward dishes make it back to the dining halls. You’ve seen the Dish Return Bins around campus all semester and you’ve probably heard the slogan Bring it Back!  Please help the custodial teams and dining services by collecting rogue dishes and depositing them in one of the many Dish Return Bins around campus. No sharp knives should be placed in the bins.
  • Empty your trash and recycling. Emptying your personal bins in your building’s trash room will help out your custodians. Make sure to recycle whenever possible: check out this guide to recycling paper, electronics, batteries, packing materials, and more. Even pizza boxes are accepted by our recycler!
  • Reuse boxes and bags. Save disposable boxes and bags through the semester to reuse at the end of the semester. Even better, use reusable boxes and bags for moving!
  • When you return, don’t bring things you won’t need. Try not to bring things to campus that you won’t end up using. Remember, you’ll have to transport them at the end of the year!

Two winter break-specific items:

  • Turn down the heat. If you have control over the heat in your room/common room, save energy by turning it down just before you leave!
  • Prevent heat loss through lights, windows, and curtains: Turn off lights, close windows and storm sashes, and shut curtains to reduce heat loss through the glass. (This tip is courtesy of Facilities from their Winter Shutdown Information.)


*At the end of the academic year, donate clothes, electronics, books, furniture, and more to the Give It Up pods scattered around campus. OIT also runs a computer recycling program called Green Up. Printers, monitors and computer peripherals are accepted. Do not bring household items like TVs, VCRs, Microwaves, etc. Read more on their website.)


Lastly, take 2 minutes to treat yourself to the following student video (created by Jamal Meneide ’19 and co-starring Shane Beard ’20) about Bring it Back!