Entering college brings changes. For me, these changes included learning new ways to live sustainably. Growing up I tried to do my part, but it wasn’t until I entered college that I realized the real impact of my decisions. Through the years my knowledge of sustainability has expanded, increasing my desire to live more sustainably.

Recycling is simple, yet valuable. Using the bins around campus or a recycling bin at your apartment or house is easy. One of the best aspects of the UofL and Louisville recycling process is that it is single stream. You don’t have to sort, so recycling is even easier! Why throw away an old homework assignment when it can be placed in a recycling bin? Over time, I have helped roommates and friends understand the value in recycling. A poster showing recyclable items and two bins in our kitchen help remind us to recycle.

I also have learned the value of recycling clothing. My older sister equipped me with hand-me-downs, showing that clothes can have more than one owner. I now shop at thrift stores, and find reinventing a piece of clothing fun. Twice a year I clean out my closet and donate items to a thrift store. Then I’ll shop at these stores and the cycle begins again. It uses materials already present and that cuts down on the need to make more. And this practice is good for my budget!

Living near UofL offers easy opportunities to bike or use TARC. Before college, I bought a bike at a yard sale for $10. Biking to Belknap Campus was easy and provided exercise.  Now that I’m on Health Sciences Campus, I rely more on TARC. I feel fortunate to ride free with my UofL ID, good about reducing my carbon footprint and happy to conserve money. 

Shopping at local places is an easy way to show my love for the city. From getting Heine Brother’s coffee to visiting unique shops on Bardstown Road, I try to buy local. It’s a way of connecting to my community, while supporting what it has to offer. When I shop at such venues, I generally know where my product is coming from and who it is sustaining.

I have also started shopping more at farmers markets. The produce is grown around Louisville, rather than transported from another state. The food is fresher and keeps longer and I feel good about helping people in and around my community.

Joining sustainability groups at UofL helps in learning and in assisting others to be sustainable.  With the UofL’s Climate Change Teach-In, I work to raise awareness to teach students and others how they can make changes. I am just as eager to keep learning about the impact I have on the earth and how I can become more sustainable.

Actions like those above are ones I don’t think twice about now. Some of these changes require a little more thought or planning, but they are ones I feel good about undertaking. I believe anyone can live a more sustainable lifestyle, and I’m continually assessing what else I can do. While at UofL I’ve learned to live more sustainably, contributing to both my personal and intellectual growth and helping my pocketbook and the planet.