Eco Friendly Spring Cleaning

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Spring brings many new arrivals with its appearance, the first sprouts of daffodils, buds on the trees, birds migrating back home, as well as the most obvious and welcome arrival- warm weather. With all the new it makes one feel an overwhelming need to get rid of the old! There’s no time like the beginning of spring to make you realize how much random stuff you’ve been accumulating in your den all winter long. Spring break is the perfect time to open up those closets and cupboards and have a good old fashioned de-clutter day. Here’s some ideas about how to best go about your spring cleaning in the most eco-friendly way!

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Eco-Friendly Office Supplies

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Here’s an example of some of the free goodies you might be able to find in the Office Supply Share! (Image courtesy of The Office of Sustainability)

With finals only a week away, you may be considering going out and buying some new office supplies to start studying. Pencils and post-its and note cards, oh my, there’s quite a long list when it comes to office supply needs! Unfortunately, many brands of office supplies bought from the store are not sustainably sourced, and some are made to be one-time uses to be used and thrown away. When it comes to sustainability advice however, we’re here to help! Here’s a list of things to look for when shopping for all your office supply needs:

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How to Make the Most of Your Spring Break

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Spring break is just around the corner which for some means a week long party. For others this might mean a week of relaxation after a chaotic term, yet many might foresee a week of boredom. If you’re unsure of the best way to get the most out of your spring break, don’t despair. There are a quite a few worthwhile, rewarding, and more sustainable options to spend your week of freedom. Here are a few alternative spring break ideas to make the most of your vacation!

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Weekend Recap: Bioneers 2017

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On February 10th at 6:30pm, a very empowering and event packed weekend began – the 2017 Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference. While the term “Bioneers” may sound intriguing by itself, the name alone doesn’t explain what this conference truly encompasses. The Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference takes place once a year and is open to not just the campus, but anyone in the community. A large portion of the conference involves rebroadcasting nationally recognized plenary speakers from the national Bioneers conference on a large theater screen in CFA’s Kresge Recital Hall. These plenary speakers are social and scientific innovators who have practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. In addition to showcasing these renowned speakers, Knox invites local presenters to discuss how these national issues relate to regional knowledge. This year, these topics ranged from bioremedial herbs in your backyard to panel discussions on renewable energy democracy. The conference had educational opportunities throughout the weekend, not to mention multiple chances to eat delicious local foods! Here are some of the many highlights of the 6th annual Prairie Fire Bioneers Conference.

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How to Have an Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day

 

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Just around the corner is a holiday both loved and hated, Valentine’s Day.  What is now seen to many as another “Hallmark Holiday” which entails the buying of bouquets, chocolates, and giant teddy bears was once something quite different.  The origins of Valentine’s Day are rather interesting, “Saint Valentine” himself is quite the mysterious fellow. The most popular story says that he was a martyred priest who performed secret marriages for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. As the story goes, he was imprisoned and fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Supposedly he wrote her a letter, before his execution, in which he signed “Your Valentine”.  Other stories are not as romantic. The pagan folklore of the holiday talk about a yearly festival which started with the sacrifice of a goat and a dog. The hides of which were then dipped in blood and used to slap women to “bring fertility”. Most folklore, however, depicts Valentine’s Day as a time to share tokens of affection with friends and loved ones, typically heartfelt handwritten notes. Valentine’s Day has changed (like many holidays) into a holiday where people are expected to buy material gifts, but it doesn’t have to be! If we support the older traditions, the ones that don’t involve sacrificing goats and dogs, we can celebrate Valentine’s Day with our loved ones while also giving a little love back to the planet with these low impact (and low cost!) alternatives:

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Sustainable Clubs on Campus

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Image courtesy of google images. 

When it comes to sustainability initiatives and opportunities on campus, the Prairie Fire community is not too shabby! We have an entire month dedicated to celebrating the Earth, the Knox Farm gives ample opportunities for students to help things grow, we have two LEED certified buildings, a bike share program, a solid investment in renewable energy, an entire shop dedicated to keeping things out of the landfill, and the list could go on! Sustainability goes further than this however, Knox has many sustainable clubs that are worth checking out too!

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Winterize Yourself

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Gizmo Patio during the winter. (Image courtesy of Knox College Flickr.)

A couple weeks back we talked about how winterizing your living space is an important part of saving energy during the cold season, but something equally important is winterizing yourself. If your hometown doesn’t often dip below freezing or you know that the usual 68 degrees (the temperature that most indoor heating is set) is too low for you, knowing how to keep your body’s core temperature warm is the key! Living comfortably indoors during extreme cold used to require no thought, it was simply the way of life. Now with centralized heating and air, we as a society find it easier to simply push a button on a thermostat and viola! We magically change the temperature. Knowing how to keep a comfortable body temperature is essential for saving energy and living sustainably as the temperature changes throughout the year. Here are a few ways you can winterize yourself and stay comfortable (and sustainable) for the rest of the season.

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How to Take Advantage of Knox’s AASHE Membership

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There are many benefits that go with being an active advocate for sustainability at Knox; help build a rain garden, work on the Knox Farm, find great swag at the Share Shop, partake in eco workshops all month long for Earth Month in April, attend the yearly Bioneers conference — the list goes on! Students, faculty, and staff are constantly coming up with ideas to expand our sustainability efforts on campus, ranging from MAD (Make a Difference) projects in the Intro to Environmental Studies class, research projects, club workshops, or individuals simply having big green goals they want to make into realities. As exciting as these projects are, getting them up and going is often a daunting endeavor. That’s where the benefits of Knox being a member of AASHE come in.

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Winterize Your Living Space

There are a lot of changes that go along with winter term; new classes, a change in schedule, and it gets darker earlier in the day.  With all these adjustments comes the biggest of all- a change in the weather! Staying warm at college can often be a challenge. Not being able to adjust the thermostat and enduring chilling drafts from windows makes living in the dorms pretty cool- and not in the good way. If you are living off campus you might be thinking of ways to stay sustainable and frugal and maybe have considered turning down the heat. Whether it’s staying warm in your dorm or in your off campus home, here are a few eco-friendly ways to winterize your living space while at Knox!

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Annual Campus Sustainability Report Released!

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The annual campus sustainability report for the 2015-2016 academic year is out!

The 2015-2016 academic year was one of milestones. Even with successful growth over the past few years in the major initiatives run through the Office of Sustainability, Knox continues to attain a number of firsts and records.  The annual report summarizes and highlights the successes achieved in sustainability during the 2015-2016 academic year.

The annual report can be found on Knox’s website:  Knox Campus Sustainability 2015-2016 Annual Report