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.

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.

The fall and spring semesters are packed with classes, leaving summer as the ultimate season for rest and relaxation. Given the many reasons for taking a much-needed break, why even consider taking a summer class? Enrolling in one or two summer classes is more beneficial than you may think.

1. Get Ahead on Your Academic Plan

Summer classes can help you get general education courses out of the way so you can complete your degree on schedule — or even earlier. Since general ed courses are usually prerequisites for classes related to your major, finishing them early frees you up to focus on your major. You might even have time to take extra electives.

2. Make Time for More Difficult Classes

You already know how hard it is to carve out enough study time for a single class when you’re taking a full course load. Instead of overwhelming yourself, save those difficult classes for summer. For instance, if you’re an English major who has difficulty with math, wait until summer term to devote all your time and energy to that dreaded calculus class. Summers allow you to tackle your most difficult subjects without distraction

3. Save Money

It’s no secret that delaying your graduation results in more student debt. The best way to keep your student loans to a minimum is to graduate on time or even early. Enrolling in summer classes accelerates your graduation plans and keeps overall costs down.

4. Keep Your Brain Sharp

It’s easy to get out of the habit of studying and writing research papers when you take a couple of months off. If you’re the type of student who works best with a steady routine, taking summer classes can help you maintain your stamina and keep your brain sharp. Summer classes are also ideal for subjects requiring multiple courses.

For example, meeting your foreign language requirement is easier if you can take Spanish 101 and Spanish 102 in subsequent terms. If classes are full during the fall and spring semesters, taking the summer off could mean losing everything you learned in the first course.
Enrolling in summer classes keeps your brain sharp in other ways, as well. You’ll maintain good study habits from one academic year to the next without feeling like you’re starting over every fall.

5. Enjoy Online Options

More colleges and universities have started offering online classes to help students meet their general education requirements. Summers give you the perfect opportunity to enroll in an online course while working a seasonal job to save money for tuition and personal expenses. Even if you want to spend time at home with your family over the summer, online classes allow you to enjoy some downtime without experiencing a break in reaching your education goals. You can even go on vacation while still getting another required course out of the way.

With so many reasons to take a summer class, why not give it a chance? Summer terms allow you to finish your education requirements early, take smaller course loads throughout the academic year, and better balance your job and personal life.

Whether you’re just starting to apply to college or you’ve got a few years under your belt, you’ll want to make sure that you thoroughly understand your student loans. Many young students don’t put much thought into their loans until after they graduate, and the terms of their repayment surprise them. Here are four important things to know about your student loans.

Understand the Rates and Terms and Type of Loan

There are many different types of loans, so make sure you understand exactly what kind you’re agreeing to when you sign. Before choosing a loan, be sure to read all of the fine print, or you could find yourself with some very unpleasant surprises down the road.

Federal loans come with fixed interest rates. Private loans determine interest rates based on credit and income and some are fixed and others are variable, meaning the rate can change. Terms vary depending on the loan type, as well. Some loans allow for slower repayment or refinancing, while others don’t.

Federal loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized. The government pays interest on subsidized loans while the student is still in school, but students are fully responsible for all interest accrued on unsubsidized loans. First, you’ll need to start with a FAFSA application to see what you qualify for. Once you’ve figured out what financial aid you can get from the government or your school, you’ll likely need to look into a private loan to make up the difference.

Repayment Options

Be sure to know what your repayment options are for all of your student loans. Some loans offer income-based repayment plans. You can also defer your loans for a period of time if you’re having trouble making payments. Keep in mind that the longer you take to pay off your loans, the more interest you’ll pay.

Certain loans offer an auto-debit option. This is a great idea if you can afford your monthly payments because it’ll make sure you aren’t late or forget to pay. You might even get an interest-rate reduction for choosing this option.

Relief Options

Federal loans and private loans both offer loan relief options. You’ll need to contact the specific provider to find out what your options are. Some banks will modify your loan or lower your interest rate if you’re struggling to keep up with payments. You might even be able to get your repayment put on hold for some time until you’re back on your feet. Certain career choices offer federal loan relief, so be aware of these options, as well. However, it’s very important that you are aware that unlike other types of debt, you cannot get rid of your student loan debt through bankruptcy court so this debt will be with you for life or until you pay it off.

Avoid Debt-Relief Scams

Be careful not to fall for a student loan debt relief scam. Debt repayment should be handled between you and your lender directly. Basically, if a loan relief company offers you help with repayment but asks for a fee upfront, run away. You’ll likely begin fielding spam phone calls from these fake companies the moment you graduate, so be aware.

Don’t get caught off guard. Student loans are not free money, and you will need to pay them back. Get a handle on your loans and all of the various options available to you before you start paying them back. You’ll save yourself stress and money in the long run.

Spring break is the perfect time for letting your hair down and leaving the stresses of college life behind you. However, that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. The following tips will help you have fun and stay safe during spring break.


1. Look Out for Your Buddies

Spring break is always more fun with friends. Before you let your hair down, pledge to look out for your buddies.

Always travel in groups of two or more. Arrive together and leave together. While a fling might sound fun, going home with strangers is risky. You don’t need to be joined at the hip, but you should know where your friends are at all times. Pay attention to the hotties they talk to and how much they’re drinking. If you think they’re being unsafe, step in to protect them. You might even take turns avoiding the booze so someone always has a clear head.

2. Practice Situational Awareness

Stay alert and aware of your surroundings and situations. That doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have fun, but you should recognize if anything feels off or amiss. Your gut instinct is a valuable gauge of how safe you really are. Listen to any uneasy feelings and act on them before you get into trouble.

Party in well-lit, busy places rather than darker ones with fewer people. When you’re using cabs and ride-sharing services, use the GPS to make sure your driver takes the route you’d expect. Double-check the license plate and driver photo match up when you’re using ride-sharing providers. This extra vigilance can help you avoid a sticky situation.

3. Watch Your Drinks

Studies suggest more than 2.2 million of the 6.31 million full-time college and university students enrolled in the United States will have their drinks spiked. Drink spiking can affect men too. Simply watching your drinks can dramatically reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

Stay alert from the moment your drink is made. Choose sealed cans or bottles at parties rather than drinks from a punch bowl. At bars, get the drink yourself and watch the bartender make it. Keep an eye on your drink until it’s finished. Leaving it to go to the bathroom or even turning your back on it while you chat could give someone the opportunity they need.

4. Keep Valuables Safe

Few things spoil a spring break like losing valuable items. Some simple tricks can keep them safe though. Don’t pack very valuable items like high-end jewelry or bags. They can make you a target for thieves, so why take the risk? Store any essential valuables in your hotel safe before going out. Keep credit cards in an RFID wallet so crims can’t scan them and steal the details. Bra pouches and money belts worn underneath clothes are ideal for storing cash, identification, and hotel keys securely.

Spring break can be dangerous if you don’t exercise caution. That doesn’t mean giving up on fun though. With these tips in mind, you’ll have a blast and stay safe on your spring break.

The life of a college student moves at a frantic pace. Between attending lectures, studying hard, and working a part-time job so you’re not living on ramen, there never seems to be enough time for your passions. However, you shouldn’t give up on the activities that make your heart full. These smart strategies will help you find time for your passions without letting your responsibilities slide.

Analyze How You Use Your Time

Think critically about the ways you spend your time. What are you doing because you need to and what are you doing simply because you feel you should? Are you wasting any time? Some things are nonnegotiable, like attending class and studying. However, you probably do many things because you feel obligated or aren’t really thinking about them.

Whether it’s attending keggers to keep friends company or mindlessly thumbing through social media, there may be activities you can reduce or eliminate altogether. Don’t be afraid to say no. Making time for the things that really matter to you will make you much happier than people pleasing.

Prioritize Your Passion

Scheduling makes sure you never miss a lecture, a shift at work, or a group study session with friends. One of the key reasons you’re not spending time pursuing your passions is because they haven’t made your schedule. Allocate time to indulge in the things that really interest you, and take that appointment as seriously as you would any other. You wouldn’t bail on your professor or boss, so don’t bail on yourself.

Perhaps you want to take a yoga class or start surfing. Stop procrastinating and do it now! Join a local group and make sure that you’re free the times they meet. Perhaps your passion is something more solitary like reading, drawing, or hiking. While these passions don’t have organized groups, you can schedule time for them, too. Take the time you make for your passions seriously. Lock the door, switch off your phone, and focus on what makes you happy. If you share a dorm, indulge your passion in a park or somewhere else you won’t be disturbed.

Choose a Job That Reflects Your Passion

Many college students wait tables or tend bar to make ends meet. While these jobs may be the most plentiful, they’re not your only options. Consider whether you can use your passion to make money instead.

If you love acting, audition for parts in commercials or TV shows. If you love dancing or playing an instrument, see whether you could make some extra money teaching children. If you love cooking or creating arts and crafts, try selling your products at local markets. The job you take doesn’t need to be your career. It can simply be a fun way to make money right now.

Finding time for your passions helps you keep stress at bay and avoid burnout while you’re studying. Making that time can be tricky, but with these smart strategies, you can juggle the things you love and your responsibilities during your college years.

4 Best Free Apps for College Students

There’s an app for everything these days, including how to survive your college years. Best of all, some of the most useful Android and iOS apps won’t cost you a cent. If you’re looking for tools to help navigate campus life, you don’t need to waste valuable study time trawling through the app store. We’ve got you covered with this handy guide to the best free apps for college students.

Brainscape: Supercharge Your Studies With Flashcards

Studies show flashcards are the most effective study tool for motivated learners. They engage active recall, facilitate confidence-based repetition, and make us reflect on the information we know and what we could use more practice on. They also allow us to separate the cards containing details we recognize with those we don’t for a more focused study experience.

Brainscape has taken this approach into the digital age. This clever app lets you create your own virtual flashcards or study with premade cards about popular college subjects. Tracking and collaboration features within the app also help you make the most of your study session.

Todoist: Organize Your Daily Activities

Organizing your class schedule, assignments, and social life is challenging. Todoist simplifies the process, acting as the ultimate to-do list and calendar. Schedule appointments and deadlines, create tasks and subtasks, and share your information with friends and project partners so you’re all on the same page.

While there is a paid premium version, the free app has sufficient features for most college students. Plus, Todoist integrates with desktop and browser extension versions so you can easily switch between your smartphone, tablet, and PC.

Mint: Manage Your Money Better

Managing money is another area where many college students struggle. Fortunately, Mint helps you expertly transition to life away from the Bank of Mom and Dad. This free finance app securely links to your bank accounts and credit cards so you can see exactly how much you’re spending and on what.

Review your transaction history to help you identify areas you can cut back on. Create budgets for different types of spending to make sure you don’t overindulge on your weaknesses. Establish credit card spending limits so you’ll never charge more than you can pay back. This money app does it all.

Circle of 6: Safeguard Your Social Life

The parties and new relationships are some of the best parts of the college experience. However, meeting so many new people carries an element of risk. With Circle of 6, you can enjoy the college social scene with extra peace of mind.

Name six safety contacts and you’re good to go. If you ever feel unsafe, click once to text your contacts for help. You can also transmit your location or send an SMS asking your friends to phone you, providing a convenient excuse to leave an uncomfortable situation. Plus, the app makes it easy to reach out if you simply need a friendly ear. Helpful links and hotlines for managing mental health, relationships, and sexuality also add value.

Whether you’re hitting the books or enjoying your downtime, these great apps will help make your college experience much easier.