Residence Life



Residence Life

» Sustainability and Green Living

Sustainability and Green Living

Elmhurst College has five core values that underline all campus programs and activities. These are Intellectual Excellence, Community, Social Responsibility, Stewardship, and Faith, Meaning and Values. Related to each of these is the College’s goal to create a comprehensive plan for environmental sustainability.

There are a number of projects happening across campus, including more efficient heating and cooling, printing management systems and arboretum updates. Residence Life also offers a Green Living Community for students who wish to foster their passion for sustainable living and share this experience with the larger College community.  This community is offered through an application process each spring.

In order to make the biggest impact possible, though, we need your help. Below are a number of ideas that you can implement quickly and easily in your room, on your floor and in the dining hall.

Why Go Green?
By involving yourself in EC’s sustainability efforts, you are contributing to the improvement of your campus, your community and your world. You will be saving resources, saving money and developing great habits for the future. Best of all, it’s simple and fits right into your daily routine!

When Not in Use, Turn it Off!
Electronic devices, including things like chargers, hair straighteners and televisions can draw power whenever they’re plugged in, even if they’re not on. This “standby power” use can be reduced by unplugging these items. A simple way to do this is to plug them all into a power strip that can easily be switched off. Power strips also reduce the likelihood of overloading a circuit and causing a power outage.

  • Turn off lights when you’re the last person to leave a room or shared spaces.
  • Use the power management options on your computer such as the “sleep mode."
  • Shut off other electronics, such as music and gaming systems, when not in use.

There are numerous opportunities for recycling in your residence hall and across campus. Check out the list below and get started today! Need help? Ask your RA for more info.

Please note the following commonly-used items that are non-recyclable on campus:

  • paper towels and napkins
  • pizza boxes (greasy cardboard)
  • milk or juice cartons (wax-coated paper)
  • paper cups and plates
  • aerosol cans (like hairspray)

The Office of Residence Life and Elmhurst College co-host a large-scale recycling event each spring where you can recycle a wide variety of items, including electronics! More information may be found at Sustainability.

  • Paper and Cardboard
    What: white and colored printer paper, newspaper, sticky notes, magazines, envelopes and junk mail, carton board (like cereal boxes), corrugated cardboard (moving boxes)
    Where: your floor or unit, academic buildings, cardboard dumpsters behind some residence halls
  • Plastic, Glass, Aluminum
    What: all plastic except #6, glass jars and bottles, aluminum and tin cans
    Where: your floor or unit, academic buildings, Frick Center, outdoor locations around campus
  • Batteries
    What: small batteries such as AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, and watch batteries
    Where: your hall’s lounges or kitchens and in the Office of Residence Life
  • Plastic Bags
    What: plastic grocery and shopping bags
    Where: white collection boxes in your hall lobby and in the Office of Residence Life

Control the Heat
Turning your thermostat down by 2 degrees amounts to a 5% reduction in heating energy.

  • Shut your radiator or turn down your thermostat to 60-65°F when you’re sleeping and when you’re away for the day or weekends.
  • Close the curtains on cool days to keep in the heat and block cold drafts.
  • Open the curtains of south and west-facing windows on sunny winter days to warm your room.
  • Don’t block vents with furniture.
  • In apartments, houses and West Hall, open cabinets that surround piping when you’re not there over breaks.
  • Resist the urge to open windows when the heat is on. In most cases, this causes the heat to continue to rise, especially in the winter when the radiators are working to counteract the cold air. If your room is too hot, open your inner doors for ventilation instead. If the heat is still a problem, talk to your RA about submitting a work order.

Keep It Clean
By reducing your shower time from 10 minutes to 4 minutes, you could save over 3,430 gallons of water and have 1.4 days of extra free time each year. Adjusting your washing machine setting can also save energy and preserve your clothes

  • Using cold rather than warm water for your laundry takes 90% less energy, and preserves your clothes.
  • Drying your clothes on a rack saves $1 per load and is better for your clothes.
  • Take shorter showers. Up to 25% of household energy is use to heat water for showers.

Sustainable Foods and Nutrition
The EC dining hall buys food from local producers as often as possible, increasing the freshness of the food and lessening the amount of energy needed to ship it to Elmhurst. They also order only antibiotic-free poultry, sustainable seafood and Fair Trade organic coffee. Below are some other ideas to try to promote sustainability, lessen your food bill and eat a bit healthier.

  • Instead of buying bottled water, save money by using a steel or non-BPA reusable plastic water bottle and filling up at water fountains.
  • Use china and silverware instead of compostable dinnerware. This results in energy and waste reduction while offering a nicer dining experience!
  • Use the composting and recycling bins located in the dining hall. When choosing disposable containers, select compostable ones whenever possible.
  • Eat seasonally. Fruits and vegetables that are not in season usually have a higher carbon footprint, since it takes more energy to transport them from growers. Check out this Midwest Seasonal Produce Guide for more info. thespruce
  • Reduce your carbon footprint by eating less meat. Even one meat-free meal day per week (such as Meatless Mondays) can make a difference!

Other Tips
Have more tips to share? Help us to improve this page each year by offering feedback and ideas to your residence life staff. Together, we can get the word out about personal and community sustainability efforts.

  • Only buy what you need—save your money on things that aren’t necessary
  • Share or borrow whenever possible
  • Be creative and find new uses for your stuff
  • Start Stuff Swaps in your residence hall
  • Switch from incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs. They use 75% less energy and also last longer, ultimately saving you money.
  • Energy Star products are designed to save energy. Reduce your impact by looking for this certification on electronics, small appliances and other items.
  • Walk, bike, skateboard, or use public transportation rather than driving when possible.
  • Print double-sided or two sheets per page if at all possible.
  • Make it a habit to carry a reusable cloth shopping bag instead of using a plastic one.


Updated 9/7/17

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