Five easiest ways to be green at SDSU

JESSICA LEWIS Guest Columnist

I don’t know about you, but at times the concept of being “sustainable” or “green” can seem like an impossibly big responsibility–saved for superhuman advocates. However, working and living as a member of the South Dakota State University community, I encounter countless small but meaningful opportunities to be green – I just need a reminder once and awhile. So here are my top five ways to live more sustainable as a member of the SDSU community.

Shut off and shut down

Can you spend 30 seconds being the office angel and shut off the office lights at lunch time? We all can. Take out that sticky note and write a reminder right now. Make sure it also includes a reminder to shut down your computer or other electronics at the end of the day. These things don’t take superhuman powers, but they do take a small effort to become routine.

Who are you talking with?

Sharing conversations with others who have different opinions, backgrounds (degrees and social experience), political beliefs, sexual orientations, heritage, race, gender and religions make our university a stronger, more welcoming community. Giving your time to communicate with others can help sustain individuals and create a more vibrant SDSU.

Do you have to go?

Does lunch have to come in a to-go box? Sometimes yes – but not always. We can imagine the typical life of the campus lunch to-go box – its birth in a factory, its delivery to campus, its short life during your lunch and a long, slow death in some landfill. 

My challenge to you is to break the “to-go box cycle” even one day a week. Can you bring your own lunch and share your hour lunch break by attending an enriching presentation? 

Can you invite a new classmate or colleague out to eat local and support the Brookings community? This is another great way to build community and save the life of a Styrofoam box.

Are you limiting what you CAN do?

How many trash cans are underneath your desk? For many of us, it is only one.  What would it take to add an extra can for recyclable materials?

Little, vital choices

Visiting new facilities on campus present sustainable choices in simple, vital ways. The decisions are as easy as black and white. I hope next time you make that little decision, it encourages you to make other little decisions for a more sustainable SDSU.


Jessica Lewis is a professional academic adviser at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected].