5 Tips for Surviving Finals Sustainably

For many, surviving finals means locking oneself in the corner of a room lit by florescent bulbs, surrounded by cans of soda to stay awake, and sifting through page after page of study materials while trying not to drown in anxiety. With everything that is piled on your plate, sustainability is often the furthest thing from your mind; because of this, many habits during finals end up being unsustainable and some even result in more stress. Here are 5 eco-friendly tips to help keep you sane during Knox finals!

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A student uses the Gizmo patio to study. (Image courtesy of the Knox Flickr page)

1. Study by Proper Lighting

Spending hours looking at text under fluorescent lighting will not only make you weary, but it also burns a higher amount of energy. If you have the opportunity to study under LED bulbs, or better yet have a chance to use natural lighting by a window, give your eyes (and energy bill) a break and choose that instead!

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2. Use Reusable Drinking Containers

While the easier option when asking for a large coffee is accepting the provided disposable cup, it is not the sustainable choice, and often costs you extra. Did you know that you can buy a reusable mug from the Gizmo for under $4? With that mug you can get a discount on whatever caffeinated (or decaf) beverage you buy! Not only is it saving you money, but it’s also saving energy! Also, before you load up on water bottles, keep in mind that refilling a bottle from the fountain will save you a purchase as well as saving a bottle from the recycling, or worse the landfill. There are are many filtered water filling stations in campus buildings. You can easily fill your water bottle in Seymour Union, Alumni Hall, Seymour Library, and GDH.

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3. Conserve Paper, and Printing Pages

Some people can’t study articles on a computer screen, and choose to print their materials instead.  To save your few remaining printing pages and still stay environmentally friendly, consider these options instead! If you need to print something, try going to Founders and choose the “recycle” printer. This printer is stocked with paper that has already printed on one side. It is perfect for draft prints or reviewing papers before printing a final copy. This gives the paper a second life before being recycled. To save your printing pages, consider printing two sheets to a page, this will not only save your pages, but will use less paper to boot!

4. Donate your gently-used notebooks and folders

Many times you started the term off with good intentions, but maybe the notebooks or folders you planned to use for note taking didn’t get used as much as you anticipated. Don’t throw out your office supplies! Donate any gently-used school supplies to the Office Supply Share, located in the lobby of the Office of Sustainability. You can also find supplies to aid in your studying – highlighters, scrap paper, binders, and more. There is a quiet lounge you can use to sit and enjoy the plants and fish that decorate the space – it’s a calm break from studying.

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A student catches a frisbee by the Quads. (Image courtesy of the Knox Flickr page)

5. Take a Break and Go Outside

One of the biggest stressors, whether you are aware of it or not, is being cooped up inside all day during your studies. This has been a very mild November, so while the weather is still treating us so kindly – soak in the outdoors! If you still want to cram for the big test, take your study materials out there with you. If you just want a break, grab a friend and throw around a frisbee, walk around campus and collect cool fall leaves, or sit in the sun and do some yoga! The Taylor Lounge even has bikes you can rent out if you want to escape from campus. Cruise on over to the Beanhive or The Glo-Bar and support a local Galesburg business while you’re taking a breather. Even if it is just to go out and enjoy the sunlight, give yourself a break from the indoor tomb – you deserve it!

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