Students Willingly Shell Out Money For More Green

At least 14 campuses in the United States and four in Canada have passed student-approved fee increases to purchase renewable energy and/or reduce carbon emissions. Students are in favor of the $10-$25 a year fee hikes because the relatively small amount of money adds up to a lot of impact.

Students at the University of Florida voted for a $14 fee increase that is expected to raise approximately $645,000 a year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their campus. At Oregon State University, an $8.50 fee increase is estimated to be enough to offset all of the campus’s electricity usage through the purchase of renewable energy credits. With the small fee increase, the currently coal-operated Oregon State University will be able to look into wind power purchases.

“There’s the risk that they [students] will say, ‘Well, we’re funding this, so we can do whatever now,’ ” said Brandon Trelstad, Oregon State University’s campus sustainability coordinator. “The beauty of the fee is if campus energy consumption goes up dramatically, so will the fee the next year if we want to continue to offset 100 percent of Oregon State’s consumption.”

Many colleges are supporting student efforts to go green by matching students’ monetary contributions. Other colleges, like Oregon State University, have officially made the pledge to go green with their students. Oregon State University’s president, signed the American Colleges and University President Climate Commitment as the vote for the fee increase was passed by students.

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Source:

Powers, Elia. “Cents and Sustainability.” Inside High Ed 18 MAY 2007 http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/18/fees.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has sent college students into a world of the unknown. As you were kicked out of your dorm room, you may have been wondering where you would land and how you would get there. Campuses were scrambling to close and all of the money you invested in tuition and fees was hanging in the balance. Now that the dust is settling, you may be wondering how you can recoup some of your costs. After all, you paid for an entire semester of on-campus living and learning.


Ask for a full refund

Begin by asking for a full refund. You may not be successful, but it’s not a bad starting place to make your case for reparations. Keep in mind that most college campuses took a financial hit during the pandemic. Facilities and payroll had to be maintained, and many institutions had to spend additional money to provide technical assistance for remote learning. At the same time, you paid for something you didn’t get, so asking for a refund is not out of line.

Negotiate a partial refund

Create a list of the additional expenses you incurred as a result of having to abandon your residential experience. Include travel expenses, new housing, food costs, technology needs, and anything else that would have been provided on campus. Write a letter to your campus and ask for a partial refund to cover the expenses you have incurred. Discuss the hardships you have experienced, as you have had to restart your life without the necessary resources.

Take collective action

If your campus isn’t responsive to your requests, use your voice and harness the power of student action with a formal request for a refund. Students across the country have created petitions and have even filed lawsuits demanding the return of unused activity fees and tuition. Colleges are dependent upon students returning in the fall, so leverage this to yield even a partial refund of your tuition and fees.

Seek credit for future classes

In addition to a refund of tuition and fees, consider asking for a scholarship or grant that can be used toward classes you’ll take in the fall. The federal government allocated $14 billion in aid for higher education. Some of this funding must be used for direct aid to students. If your college is reticent to offering you cash now, you may be able to negotiate a free or partially free semester of college tuition to be used in the future. Exercise all of your options as you look for a way to get something back for what you had to endure.

Today’s college students are no stranger to technology; most have had a laptop, iPhone, or iPad in their hands since before they could walk. But interestingly, rather than choosing the more modern (and often cheaper) digital textbook option, students are leaning toward purchasing the hard copy version. While this may be on-brand with the hipster chic style of many college attendees — think large glasses, retro cardigans, and scrunchies — what other explanations exist? Digital copies take up less space, are easier to update, and dramatically save paper. But college students continue to choose the hefty, hard-backed tome. Why are print textbooks better?

Fewer Distractions

The internet offers users an infinite pool of distractions: social media, movies and television shows, online shopping, and targeted advertising. College students using a digital textbook are only one click away from a rabbit hole of Facebook comments and photos. A five-minute study break becomes an hour of scrolling and direct messaging. Students will be less tempted to check their Instagram account when turning pages outside of the familiar digital medium.

Used and Resale Options

Thrifty students will appreciate the ability to buy hard copy textbooks secondhand, perusing the different used book options in their campus bookstores and online. More importantly, students can sell back paper textbooks at the end of each semester, scoring some extra cash. Physical books can be saved forever if desired; printing is an ancient technology over 5000 years old. and Digital versions don’t offer the same options and flexibility.

Better comprehension

Whether dog-earring important pages, scribbling notes in the margins, or highlighting key passages, paper textbooks offer students a more hands-on learning experience. These reading strategies can improve comprehension of the material. A 2013 USA Today study demonstrated students retain less when reading on a screen. Moreover, some students may appreciate the aesthetic value of textbooks on their bookshelves, especially for those pursuing careers in academia.

Reliability

Computers need to be charged and can become damaged. Campus libraries may not always have available computers. In busy college towns, finding an available outlet in a café is less likely than winning the lottery. Hard copy books, however, are always available, and can withstand spilled coffee and power outages.

Overall Learning Experience

Research shows that students learn better from print than from digital copies of textbooks. In general, reading a large amount of material from a screen lends to lower learning comprehension — not to mention the potential eye strain and consequences on sleep from too much screen time. Certain studies suggest that scrolling has a disruptive effect on comprehension. And while reading digitally may increase speed, student performance tends to suffer when reading from a digital textbook. Overall, while some digital learning tools may be effective, in general old fashioned print textbooks will always retain a place in the college students’ learning toolbox.

2020 College Resolutions


A New Decade, a Fatter Wallet!

The new year clears the slate for all those 2019 regrets. College students return rested after the holiday break just in time for a fresh semester with new classes and professors. But looming over that shiny optimism is a very real student debt problem; in 2017, students graduating from public four-year universities left with an average $26,900 in debt–and that number keeps rising. While this problem is no doubt daunting and overwhelming for many students, there are some great money saving strategies for the new year.

Ride a Bike!

More and more college campuses are increasing their sustainable transportation options. Ditch the car and opt for a swanky bike helmet instead. Public access to bikes, scooters, and buses is a growing trend. College students can sometimes benefit from free bus passes and other perks. Maintaining a car on campus means parking, gas, insurance, and repairs. Research what transportation options are available near campus. Companies like ZipCar and Uber offer ride-share options for the times when a car is more necessary, like bad weather and heavy groceries.

Pay Attention to Credit Cards.

It’s smart to start building credit, but those credit cards can quickly turn around and bite. Make sure to manage credit card balances and pay off more than is spent each month. Interest rates and late fees can quickly add to the balance, so students should read the fine print before signing up. They should take advantage of travel points and rewards when they can. Using these wisely can pay for a flight home or to a spring break destination.

Find a Part-time Job.

Students are busy no doubt. But a part-time job can help pay for small bills without taking up too much time. Many on-campus jobs work around class schedules and are flexible for exams and study needs. Restaurants and coffee shops often need extra hands. Help conduct research with a paid assistantship. Complete surveys online. Dog-sit. Scoop ice cream. Millennials are masters of the side hustle.

Eat Smart!

Colleges are hot spots for free food–it’s just about knowing how to find it. Attend events offering free food, bring student IDs to restaurants and ask about discounts, and try to save dining out for special occasions.

Above all, understand and prepare for future student debt payments. Use campus resources for free financial planning and budgeting. Calculate future monthly payments (including interest). Mastering these tips will build helpful financial habits to better tackle student loan debt in the future. Take control in 2020!

Once you’ve lived away from your parents, your old home (and perhaps hometown) feels different. You’ve changed, your friends from high school have probably changed, and you may even find that your bedroom has been converted to a guest room. Things may not be the same as you remember, but you can definitely still enjoy yourself while you’re home for the holidays. Just follow these holiday survival tips.

Expect Rules at Home

You’re used to living by your own rules. You can stay out as late as you want without telling anyone. You can sleep in late, eat cereal for dinner, have friends over until 3 a.m. — the list goes on and on. Now you’re under your parents’ roof again, and they may not be so keen on your new habits. At the very least, they’ll want to know (or try to tell you) what time you’ll be home by.

As tough as it is to relinquish your freedom, remember that your folks get to make the rules in their own home. Talk to them ahead of time. Do they still want you to have a curfew? Do they mind if you eat all the food in the cupboard? Knowing what your parents expect can help you avoid unpleasant surprises during your visit. Also, taking the time to ask about (and follow!) their rules shows them that you’re responsible. Doing chores is another way to win brownie points. Hopefully, in time, they’ll treat you more like an adult.

Be Prepared for Questions

You may be asked a barrage of questions, especially if you have extended family visiting. What do you plan to do when you graduate? Who do you hang out with? Are you seeing anyone? What happened to that last boy you were dating? Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with intrusive questions, but if they do come up, you can redirect the subject to something like the Ultimate Frisbee team you just joined.

Ask About Your Old Bedroom

While some parents like to keep their child’s room the same, even once they’ve grown up and moved away to college, others seem to have long awaited this moment. They now get to finally have a craft or exercise room. This isn’t the type of thing you want to find out the moment you open your old bedroom door. Before you go home, ask about any major changes your family made around the house.

Make Time for Old Friends

One of the best parts of visiting home — aside from the free, homecooked meals — is seeing your friends from high school. It’s a good idea to make plans in advance, especially if any of you work part-time during the holidays. Try not to feel too surprised if you see a noticeable difference in any of your friends. This is a time of change for all of you!

Visiting your family for the holidays can be a bit stressful, but seeing everyone again is worth it. Try following these tips, and it should ease the transition.

College students have much to consider when purchasing textbooks. Should you rent or buy? Should you get your books new or used, in print or digital? Will you keep the textbooks or sell them back to recover some of your costs?

As the traditional campus bookstore evolves into an online marketplace, college students and book buyers must now ask themselves another question: is this book even real? Fake online bookstores and counterfeit books have become a growing concern in the textbook industry. Publishers and major booksellers are cutting ties with these merchants and even pursuing legal action against them. Fake books cost the industry tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue, and students also should avoid these pirated products.

Counterfeit books use lower quality materials, are frequently missing pages, and cannot be sold back at the end of the semester. Moreover, some online stores will simply steal students’ money. Buyers must be wary because those hunting for a bargain are getting scammed instead. Some students have reported seeing a flyer on-campus advertising a cheap textbook website. Then, after making textbook purchases with their credit cards, they never receive the books.

Luckily, there are ways to spot the fakes: Thoroughly read all unfamiliar websites; look for the grammar and spelling mistakes or poor organization that tend to indicate a website put together haphazardly to make a quick buck. Check that the address and phone numbers listed for the company are real. Take advantage of search tools such as those on the Better Business Bureau website to find out if there have been complaints filed against the company. Check domain names and read the return policies thoroughly. Also, if possible, read customer reviews and ratings.

As the college textbook industry expands, so do possible scams. Although time and money are often limited resources for college students, it’s imperative that you use due diligence when purchasing your textbooks to avoid future problems.

If you’re a college student struggling to make ends meet, try using your talents and resources to make some extra cash. You may not be able to work full-time, but you might be surprised at the odd jobs that are available. Begin by taking inventory of your special skills. If you’re willing to explore creative options, you’ll discover good financial opportunities.

1. Be a Notetaker
A notetaker is a student who attends a classroom course and takes notes for another student who has accommodation for illness or disabilities. By law, colleges and universities must provide notetakers for students who have a registered learning disability. While being a notetaker, you can help students in need and enhance your own academic skills. Visit the accessibility resources office on your campus to offer your services.

2. Look for an On-Campus Job
An on-campus job is an ideal choice for a consistent influx of cash. Visit your financial aid or career services offices to inquire about job openings. On-campus jobs can accommodate your schedule and you may even be able to study while you work.

3. Get Paid to Help Others
If you excel in a particular subject, share your expertise with students who are struggling. Advertise your services on social media or talk to a professor about tutoring jobs that may be offered by an academic department.

4. Become a Merchandiser
Consider selling some of your clothes or used textbooks to make a few extra bucks. Local secondhand and consignment stores are often willing to buy gently used clothing. If you enjoy shopping, go to garage sales and thrift stores to look for hidden gems that you can buy and sell to make some extra cash. Rare books, antiques, and other collectibles can be sold online.

5. Use Your Domestic Skills

Use your free time to babysit, pet sit, or house sit as a flexible, part-time job. House cleaning, yard work, and snow shoveling can be worked into a busy college schedule. You can advertise online to find clients.

6. Hit the Road
If you have a car, consider working as a driver for people who need a ride. Join an organized rideshare service or create your own system to connect with potential customers. You can also deliver food or other goods for local retailers.

7. Become a Translator
If you speak a language other than English, become a translator. You can find translation jobs online. Contact local medical or social service agencies to offer your translation services for their patients and clients.

8. Become a Transcriber
College is the ideal environment to find work as a transcriber. Strong keyboarding skills are a necessity for this work. Contact academic departments to offer your services, or market your services online.

9. Donate Plasma
If you’re in good health and don’t mind needles, earn some extra money donating plasma. A component of blood, plasma is most often needed to treat accident or burn victims and people with diseases. Plasma donation centers offer cash and incentives to regular donors.

10. Apply for Scholarships
Spend some of your free time applying for college scholarships. You may discover special scholarships at your college that are available to students who are admitted into specific majors, for example. If you’re involved in campus or community activities, look for scholarships that will reward you for student involvement.

For many students, living on campus will be their first time living away from family. This change means taking on new responsibilities, such as paying for housing costs. But what about keeping things eco-friendly? Whether you’re new on campus or returning for another semester, you can easily make your dorm room more environmentally friendly. Get started with these four tips.

Shop Used Instead of New

Even though most dorms include basic furniture, you’ll still need other items: clothes hangers, an alarm clock, extra lamps, bed linens, a laundry basket, decorations, and more. Hopefully, you can get some free stuff from Mom and Dad or Aunt Kathy. For almost everything else, you can buy used instead of new.

Start looking at garage sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, or even Craigslist for what you need. You can save a substantial amount of money compared to buying new items, and you’ll also help the environment. Buying secondhand reduces carbon emissions from transporting goods, eliminates the use of raw materials like wood and plastic, and saves perfectly good items from the landfill.

Reduce Phantom Power

Did you know that electrical devices can still use power while plugged in, even when they’re turned off? Your cellphone charger, TV, hair dryer, laptop, toaster oven — anything you leave plugged in all the time — continue to waste energy when you’re not using them. This wasted energy is known as phantom power.

The least expensive way to reduce phantom power is to simply unplug the devices you’re not using before you go to sleep or leave your dorm. For more convenience, however, you can invest in a power strip with switches. Some of them even come with a timer or an auto-shutoff feature. You may also want to disable your computer’s screen saver: When it’s left on, it can use up to twice as much energy.

Use Green Cleaning Products

Along with studying and meeting new people, you’ll also (hopefully!) spend some time cleaning your dorm room. Make sure to pick up some eco-friendly cleaning products. Green Works, Mrs. Meyer’s, Method, and Ecos are just a few brands that use biodegradable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. As a bonus, you won’t have to deal with the lovely smell of bleach each time you clean your room.

Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances

Are you planning to keep a minifridge in your room? If so, try to get a unit that is Energy Star-certified. Not sure if you need a microwave? You may find that hot plates do the trick.

Some dorms include a shared kitchen. In that situation, the stove is the biggest energy vampire. When possible, use smaller appliances for your cooking instead of the stove. Boil water in an electric kettle instead of in a regular kettle on a burner. Reheat pizza in a toaster oven. When you do use the stove, you can make the most of it by cooking several items at once.

Making a few small changes here and there can make your dorm room more eco-friendly. Try at least one of these tips, and see how simple it is to start living green.

The United States is a nation of animal lovers, with nearly 7 out of 10 local households owning a pet. You might want a furry, feathered, or scaly friend dearly, but are your college years the right time to become a pet owner? Consider the pros and cons carefully before jumping in.

Pro: Pets Are Good for Your Emotional Well-Being

Your college years can be a challenging time. Most students are away from their regular support systems and out of their comfort zone. Busy schedules and academic demands and expectations can take a toll on your mental health. During all this turbulence, a pet can be a valuable touchstone. Many pets, like dogs, cats, and birds, give back plenty of love. Studies show just looking into your dog’s eyes boosts your body’s levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin.

Even less-expressive pets like mice and fish can help you feel less alone. When you feel attached to an animal your breathing slows, your blood pressure reduces, and your anxiety level falls. These are all great benefits for stressed-out college students.



Con: Pets Can Be Expensive

Pets can put a serious dent in your college finances. Buying or adopting a pet costs money upfront, and then there are ongoing costs like food, vaccinations, and vet bills to consider. According to the ASPCA, most people spend more than $1000 in their first year of pet ownership. Some pets, like fish, are relatively inexpensive, but other pets, like purebred puppies, can cost much more. If you’re already living on a shoestring, a pet could really break your budget.

Pro: Pets Teach Responsibility

Your college years are usually a period of transition from dependent high school student to more independent, responsible young adult. Pets teach responsibility because you should factor their needs into your decision-making. You must feed and supply them with water regularly and give them the attention, exercise, toilet breaks, and vet visits they need. It can be hard, but it’ll make you a better adult.

Cons: Pets and Student Accommodation Often Don’t Mix

Pets can be a barrier to finding and maintaining suitable accommodations. Many campuses ban pets of any description from their dorms. Some only allow selected pets like fish, which may not be what you have in mind. Even if you’re living off campus, you might find landlords unwilling to rent to you and pet. Make sure you know the rules about pets because if you violate them, you and Fido could find yourselves on the street.

If you find accommodation, the hard work isn’t necessarily over. Some pets can be destructive, especially if they’re left alone for hours while you’re studying or socializing. Soiled carpets, chewed windowsills, and scratched doors are all your responsibility. Are you ready to take that on?

Only you will know whether you’re ready to have a pet in college. There are some tremendous benefits to pet ownership, but some serious drawbacks, too. Consider your lifestyle and the needs of your dream pet carefully before deciding whether to get one now or to wait until after graduation.

Studying abroad offers an unparalleled opportunity to broaden your horizons. If you want to refine your foreign language skills, there’s no better way than immersing yourself in it. Between 2010 and 2015, the demand for bilingual workers in the U.S. more than doubled. Improve employability while nibbling pastries in Paris or gliding on a gondola in Venice? Yes, please! Find out how to squeeze the absolute best from your study abroad program so you can enjoy all the perks this experience has to offer.

Keep a Budget

Participation in a study abroad program can come with a hefty price tag. In addition to your tuition and administrative fees, you may also have expenses associated with textbooks, school supplies, and other materials. It’s important that you take your regular living expenses into account as well. Make sure you understand what’s included as far as meals, laundry facilities, and accommodations.

Once the basics are taken care of, you’ll want to have some extra funds on hand to truly enjoy the culture and country. This could include money for transportation, dining out, attractions, and souvenirs. Plan carefully so your budget will last for the duration of your stay.

Befriend the Locals

It’s easy to fall into step with the other American students studying abroad with you, but you should make an effort to expand your social circle. You’re missing out on an incredible opportunity if you don’t make some local connections during your stay. If you’re living with a host family, they might be able to introduce you to students in your age range. Your study abroad program may offer some opportunities to make new friends through excursions and other activities. You may have to step outside your comfort zone, but it’s well worth the effort.

Enjoy the Cultural Flavor

When you’re participating in a study abroad program, the goal is to experience the country like a local, not a tourist. Don’t restrict yourself to well-known highlights and Americanized restaurants. Veer away from the familiar, and find out what residents like to do in their free time. Ask your host family about little-known adventures in the area. Seek out the small, family-owned restaurants and attractions that tourists rarely find. There you’ll experience the true flavor of the country.

Take Side Trips

In many destinations, you have the unique opportunity to visit multiple countries with only a few hours of travel time. You can travel Europe easily by bus, train, or car. Budget airlines are an option as well if you’re covering longer distances. Compare the price of a plane ticket between London and Paris to the expense of traveling all the way from the U.S. to France, and you’ll see why this is such an opportune time to maximize your travels. Plan exciting excursions on the weekends, or extend your trip a few weeks beyond the conclusion of your study program.

Studying abroad is a valuable experience that belongs on every college student’s bucket list. With proper planning, you can make the most of your journey and enjoy memories that will last a lifetime.