Harvard Dorm Room Photo By jonssonAh, September, a bitter sweet time wherein we bid farewell to summer and slowly begin to accept the impending crispness of Autumn air. For school bound boys and girls of all ages, it marks the age old tradition of back to school time. To many college bound folk, this means a move into a dormitory, a rite of passage that involves finding new and inventive ways to block out your new roommate’s snoring, wearing flip flops to shower and finding sheets that fit your freakishly long, dorm-style mattress. While we can’t stop your roommate from raiding your mini-fridge in the middle of the night, we can offer you fine people some tips on making your transition into dorm life a little more ethical and a lot more green… and no, we don’t mean the type of green growing on your roommate’s stack of one month old unwashed dishes.

Deluxe Mini Fridge/Warmer Photo By majortk

Mini Fridge: One of the most classic among dorm room accessories/ necessities is the mini fridge. While some dorm rooms may already come equipped with these miniature appliances, many students are left to obtain their own. A savvy, green-minded student may forgo this tiny fridge all together, choosing instead to house their edibles in the normal sized refrigerator in the common Kitchen area of their dorm. If the idea of leaving last night’s pizza exposed to a floor full of hungry students currently working on their freshmen fifteen puts you into a mild panic, fret not. One can simply choose a fridge that is both teeny and energy efficient. Looking for an Energy Star rating is an easy way to decipher what is the best purchase.

Paper Plates + Plastic Forks= An Unhappy Planet: An easy way of cutting down on waste is to forgo the simplicity of disposable dinnerware. Purchase reusable plates, utensils and cups. Don’t let the additional chore of washing these dishes get you down, just remind yourself, when you are elbow deep in dish soap, that you are doing the world a favor. Plus, using a little elbow grease builds character.

Steel Water Bottle Photo By Robert Couse-Baker

Just Say “No” to Bottled Water: Your mom’s membership to the Super Saver’s Club Warehouse may make it tempting to load up on hundreds of bottles of water for your new school year home. Heck, you probably will need to hydrate after a long night of party hopping, hydration is a key part of dodging a gnarly hangover, but a glass of tap water will do the same thirst-quenching job. Fill up a jug or table top filtration system in your dorm’s kitchen area, as needed, to keep in your room. The environment and your mom’s wallet will thank you in the long run.

Your Power Strip can Make the Dean’s List: College life in the modern age is marked by a tangle of wires and electronics. One of your first dorm room purchases very well may be a power strip. When selecting one of these plug multipliers, look for a smart version. That’s right, just like you, your power strip can be smart and ecologically minded. While still protecting your electronics from harmful power surges, these smart versions also sense when these items are shut down and cuts off the energy fully, preventing phantom energy drains. Me thinks these smart power strips must have graduated Power Strip University (PSU) with honors.

Energy Saving Lightbulb Photo By MuffetLight Bulbs: Replace your overhead and desk lamp’s light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs. Before replacing, hold the light bulb over your head and declare that you just had a great idea before performing this green-ifying task to the delight/ disgust of your new roommate. Be careful, if they are not a fan of corny jokes they may kick the foot ladder out from underneath you…on second thought, skip the joke and get right to the light changing task at hand. Safety First!

Toys. Lots of toys. Photo By Brent and MariLynnDecorations: You are probably going to want your dorm to be a reflection of your superb sense of style. No worries, you can be a master of interior design while being conscious of the environment! Try finding products that are made of recycled goods, organic materials or better yet, buy second hand. There are plenty of lightly used furnishings, decorations and even clothing available at your local Goodwill-type store and of course, the internet has an abundance of used goods for sale. Don’t be afraid of thrift shopping, even if your item belonged to a deceased person, your dorm could use a little haunting for future late night Ouji board sessions.

Fashion: College is a time for exploring new things. Belief systems, musical tastes and fashion all go through an evolution as students pass through the four to ten years they will spend at their university. Your ever-changing wardrobe will however need some staples, regardless of whether you choose to ultimately choose to embrace hippie, rastah, or khaki influenced duds. A pair of timeless sneakers and a few adorable t-shirts are a must for any wardrobe. These items can be easily obtained if you mosey on over to Autonomieproject.com for your dorm life fashion needs. Both ethical and stylish, these threads will win you compliments and possible new pals at freshmen orientation!

With a Greener mind and ethical outlook to dorm room life, you won’t be able to help but feel like one smart cookie. You may even become so euphoric that you will become magically able to block out the chainsaw-like sounds that are emitting from your slumbering roommate…at least for the night.