by Hannah Kleinberg

If you’ve walked through campus, you can see that the university has taken great strides toward being eco-friendly. From water refill stations to recycled straws and cups, Minnesota State, Mankato is taking action in the fight to save our Earth. Through the past few years, our dormitories have taken steps in the right direction as well, and are becoming more eco-friendly ever year.

Water bottle fillers are just one of the many ways in which the dorms have taken charge, though they’re probably the first thing that comes to mind. Beyond McElroy, Crawford and Preska, these sights can be found throughout the campus, in nearly every building in the university. In the dorms, however, they’re located in the lobbies, though students have made many efforts to try and have them installed on every floor because they’re such a convenience. These refill stations made it possible to save 20,000 plastic bottles from landfills a month in the residential hall alone.

In the dorms, you’ll also find separate bins for different materials, such as glass, papers, and traditional waste. This is done in conjunction with the Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS), in which large varieties of recyclable material is picked up on a routinely basis by MSU Residential Life employees and processed. Also, in every floor of every dorm, there are recycling bins located right next to the garbage can, providing an easy way for students to go green. Trash in the residence halls is also sorted, processed, and turned into burnable pellets, which are then used as energy for over 50,000 homes. Less than 4% of our university’s trash goes to a landfill.

Motion-activated lights are installed in every community floor kitchen and lounge of the residence halls. Smart ways to conserve electricity in the dorms include unplugging chargers when not in use, turning off the lights when you’re not in your room, and hibernating your laptop frequently.

The dorms have started using “Ink Jet” printer cartridges in effort of being eco-friendly, brand names Canon, Lexmark and Hewlett Packard. Apple product recycling isn’t available yet, but they’re working toward that next. Collection sites for empty printer cartridges include the Computer Store, Building Services, and all of the residence halls. It’s highly encouraged that you help as well, and turn in any of your empty “Ink Jet” cartridges to any of these locations, or to the front desks of any residence community.

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