Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

How to be a sustainable student


April is national Earth month thanks to Wisconsin Senator Nelson Gaylord’s institution of Earth Day 55 years ago, initially created to spread awareness and encourage activism to protect our environment. As busy college students, sustainability is often one of the last things on our minds.

Trust me, when I first started adulting, I was the same way. Many people get overwhelmed with all the rules and regulations, but it’s not as daunting as you may think. That’s why I’m here to simplify it for you. Here are three ways you can practice being a sustainable student on a budget.

1. Buy reusable items

One excuse I hear a lot from college students is that they just don’t have the money to be sustainable. As somebody with $6.21 in their bank account, I definitely hear you. Luckily, this tip will actually save you money. I know it’s easy to just use plastic plates and silverware, but having to constantly rebuy these single-use plastics burns a hole in your pocket, not to mention the ozone.

For those who use makeup wipes, opting for reusable makeup wipes is also a great option. I know I’m not alone when I say I go through those single-use wipes like crazy, not to mention the chemicals often irritate my skin. With these reusable wipes, all you need is water.

Not only will it save you money from having to rebuy package after package, but these reusable makeup wipes can be bought with your Titan Dollars at the Corner Convenience Store in Reeve Memorial Union.

When it comes to cleaning, switch out your Lysol wipes for a washcloth and a DIY solution of dish soap and water. You can put this solution in a reusable spray bottle from a dollar store for cheap, and all you need is a little bit of Dawn. Definitely much cheaper than buying a thing of lysol wipes every month, not to mention a lot better for the environment.

2. Buy things second hand

One of my personal favorite ways to be sustainable is by shopping second hand from the thrift store, garage sales, and even Facebook Marketplace. I have found so many hidden gems from shopping at these places, from vintage Levi’s and unique jewelry to bookcases.

Thrifting and going to garage sales is an awesome way to find unique pieces, and also provides a great pastime to do alone or with your friends. Luckily the rapid trend cycle does yield at least one good result: You can find genuine pieces donated from when they were first trendy, and I guarantee they’re a lot better quality than what you could get from Shein while still paying the same (if not lower) price.

3. Walk to class

For all of you constantly complaining about finding a parking spot for your class, I have a simple solution: Walk to your class. I understand that many drive to save time, but the time it takes to find a parking spot ends up taking more time than just walking there.

Especially for 8am classes, driving can be tempting. But as somebody who has 8am classes three times a week, I actually look forward to it. Not only is it great to soak up some vitamin D to start your day, but the walk and breathing in that fresh air helps to wake me up and energize me, and the walk home after class is borderline therapeutic. We are also graced with a very nice campus, so we might as well walk around it.

Some other things you can do to be a sustainable student include putting your film plastics such as grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, Ziplocs and produce bags in the bins found near the front desk at all dorm buildings.

You can also recycle your plastic grocery bags by giving them back at the grocery store, and please remember not to use them to line your recycling bin. Put those Amazon boxes and beer cases to good use and use those instead to hold your recyclables.

Also remember that if they see even one piece of trash in your recyclables, they put the whole thing in the landfill. Lastly, if you’re still confused about what is and isn’t recyclable, just look around campus and you’ll find a poster with guidelines of what is and isn’t acceptable. If you still have more questions, you can visit and select their Services & Resources tab.

Being a sustainable college student isn’t as daunting as you think, and it may even save you money and make you more trendy in the long run.

Moreover, you can have all of this while also being a responsible citizen and environmental advocate. We only have one Earth, and we must start taking care of it before it’s too late.


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