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Think Gold Act Green




Top Ways to THINK GOLD and ACT GREEN at Vanderbilt

RECYLEMANIA in February and March!

Tune In!

Conserve Energy!

  • Turn off lights in dorm rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, study rooms, and common spaces when not in use by others.
  • Boost your mood by taking advantage of natural daylight.
  • Minimize computer energy consumption and maximize battery power by activating energy-saving settings, reducing screen brightness, and shutting down your computer when it won’t be used for a few hours. Computers need rest from all-nighters too!
  • Enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea or an ice-cold drink and dress in layers so you can adjust your personal temperature.
  • Get a quick workout in by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Visit the ThinkOne Energy Conservation Campaign website for additional ideas.

Pull the Plug on It!

  • Unplug electronic items such as chargers, printers, microwaves, and other appliances when not in use, or
  • Connect electronic items to a power strip so you can turn them all off with a single switch.

Many appliances continue to draw standby or “vampire” power even when they are turned off but plugged in. Whether your loyalties lie with Team Edward or Team Jacob, unplug.

Wise up your water use!

  • Take shorter showers and wash full rather than partial loads of clothes in cold water, whenever possible, which will save both energy and water at the same time!
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, lathering soap, and washing dishes.
  • No one likes the sound of a dripping faucet – report problems to your Area Maintenance Supervisor.

Reduce Consumption and Waste

  • BYO and invest in products you will use more than once, such as reusable water bottles and cloth shopping bags. Not only will you save money, but you also won’t have to make as many trips to the recycling bins!
  • Lug your favorite mug or cup so you can refill on the go.
  • Pay your bills online. You will reduce paper waste and emissions released during the transport of your postal items, and $0.44 each time your pay a bill adds up quickly!
  • Use old cloths or rags instead of paper towels for cleaning and rechargeable batteries instead of single-use batteries.
  • Buy items in bulk and avoid individually packaged items to reduce packaging waste.


  • Resell your old textbooks or swap books with your friends at the end of the semester so you don’t have to schlep books home at the end of each semester.
  • Donate old clothing, furniture, electronics, and appliances to charities instead of throwing them out by participating in Vanderbilt’s Earth Friendly Move Out at the end of the spring semester.
  • Keep and store your moving boxes from the beginning of the year so you don’t have to buy new boxes at the end of the year.


  • Recycle items that cannot be reused whenever possible, including paper, plastic, aluminum and tin, and cardboard in bins located near the dumpster in your residential area, classrooms and hallways, computer labs, and along campus walkways.  Remember to empty and rinse food and beverage containers and flatten cardboard and paperboard before recycling.
  • Glass can be recycled by taking it to Peabody Recycling Center behind the Commons Dining Center.
  • Volunteer with VU’s recycling program! Opportunities abound throughout the year including Move-In Cardboard Crew, home football games, Rites of Spring, Commencement, and more!

Visit SustainVU’s Campus Recycling Program page or email recycle@vanderbilt.edu for information on additional items that can be recycled.

Decrease Food Waste

  • Don’t take food that you won’t eat.
  • Think twice about grabbing a to-go container and using disposable items.
  • Invest in reusable silverware, plates, bowls, and cups for use in your dorm room.
  • Try not to be a messy eater so you can take as few napkins as necessary.
  • Bring along your own reusable to-go container when grubbing outside of your dorm room so you can wrap-up leftovers up to enjoy while you’re cramming for your next test or when you get home from a night out.

Support sustainability-produced goods markets

  • Stumped on what to buy for a friend’s birthday? Check out Vandy FreeSwap, a website for Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff who are giving away (and getting) free, usable, unwanted items to others instead of disposing of them in landfills.
  • Try to buy used and recycled items, products containing post-consumer content and recycled content, and items that can be reused or recycled after having been used.
  • Purchase fair-trade and locally- or organically-made or grown products to support sustainable economies.

Print Smarter

  • Print double-sided to save paper – “use the back side.”
  • Print on scrap paper and reduce font size, spacing, and margins to reduce paper consumption, whenever possible.
  • Use campus printers in libraries and computer labs, saving you money on ink and paper.
  • If you have your own printer, purchase paper containing at least 30% recycled content and recycle your ink cartridges.

Travel Smarter

  • Pedal in or catch a ride to take advantage of campus bike racks, the Commodore and Airport Express, Commodore Cabs, VandyVans, Zipcars, and WeCars instead of bringing a vehicle to campus. Just think of how much money you’ll save from avoided parking tickets!
  • If bringing a car with you, trip chain when running errands, carpool with others (cheers for the buddy system!), and be sure to check the air in your tires to achieve optimal gas mileage prior to traveling long distances.  Not only will you save energy, but you’ll save on gas money too!

Thanks for doing your part to make Vanderbilt a more sustainable place!  Looking for more ways to reduce your environmental impact on campus?  Visit the SustainVU website, SustainVU Facebook page, or contact the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) at SustainVU@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 322-9022.