Willamette’s Footprint: Profiles
Carolyn Burns, Katie Bruhn, and Janna Chaney: Students Making Sustainable Choices Off-Campus
With hallways across campus decorated with big blue recycling tubs and paper waste receptacles it is easy to make those ecologically sound decisions about waste. For some students, these values extend to their lifestyles off campus. Juniors Carolyn Burns, Katie Bruhn and Janna Chaney choose to live with sustainability in mind at their house. In addition to recycling what they can through the city program, they recycle plastic grocery bags, and reuse sandwich and lunch containers. Carolyn says they prefer to purchase reusable items as opposed to the alternatives that are used once and then thrown away “we resisted the urge to buy a Swifferämop, instead we have one where the head can be thrown in the [washing machine].” They want to share a few conservation tips:
- cloth hand and dish towels reduce paper waste
- a plastic milk jug in the toilet tank creates a low flow toilet, conserving water
- place a block of ice in a half empty freezer to use less energy
- air dry clothes instead of using the dryer
- plastic around the windows to prevent warm air escaping
- keep the blinds closed, keeps warm air in
- turn the heater down at night
- bike to school
- consult power company about energy saving tips
The girls say that often times the number one incentive for conserving energy is the financial savings. “Honestly, the first thing I think of when turning down the heater, even when I don’t want to, is the heating bill,” says Carolyn.
They admit that for others sometimes it is easier sometimes to throw things in the garbage, or drive a car instead of bike, but the biggest barrier is the lack of knowledge. They say we need to remember “the things you learned in kindergarten…turn off the water when you brush your teeth and wash your face, turn off the lights when you leave the room…it really doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. They highlight a big incentive for their lifestyle, in that it is sometimes more time efficient and almost always more economically efficient to live sustainably.