SLF Student Coordinator Shares Tips on Being Eco-friendly

The Ramapo News sat down with Alexa Marques, senior environmental science major, SLF student coordinator and former vice president of 1Step on Earth Day to discuss ways that college students can live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Ramapo News (RN): How did you celebrate Earth Day this year?

Alexa Marques (AM): This Earth Day I am celebrating by taking a hike in the reservation, bird watching and spreading the word about being green. And various projects happening on campus and off in support of Earth Day.  I will be wearing my "Save The Fish" T-shirt on Earth Day in support of sustainable fisheries.

RN: What is the easiest lifestyle change students can make to start living more sustainably?

AM: The easiest lifestyle changes that students can make, especially at Ramapo, are using refillable water bottles. With the hydration stations popping up around campus it's convenient and free to get filtered water! Also trying to conserve water is really easy on a college-student schedule. If you set a four or five minute song when you are hopping in the shower, you time yourself to the music and save a ton of water and are just as clean. That means sleeping later before those 9:45 classes.

RN: What are some clubs and organizations on campus that students can get involved in that are related to sustainability?

AM: 1Step (Students Together for Environmental Progress) is the environmental club on campus. 1Step is really dedicated to making Ramapo a greener place to live and learn. They meet Mondays at 1:00 p.m. in A104 and are involved in a bunch of projects on campus, from banning bottled water to GreenFest.

SLF (Sustainable Living Facilities) is a Residence Life community that is dedicated to living sustainably. Students take a seminar class on sustainability and work in the campus garden for community service hours.

Ramapo Beekeeping is a club that learns how to work the beehives on campus and produce yummy honey.

Plant Strong Ramapo is a vegan/vegetarian club that promotes healthy and compassionate diets for veggie-curious students.

RN:What do you do to ensure that you live sustainably while still living on campus?

AM:  I live in Sustainable Living Facilities where I work in the campus garden to produce my own food, but during the winter months I make sure to buy local food from farmers' markets nearby. I also try to limit my electricity consumption by unplugging unused appliances, or my laptop and cell phone, keeping the lights off during the day and limiting when they are on at night. I try to conserve water by taking shorter showers and using environmentally safe cleaning supplies, like vinegar water. We even have an aqua farm where our goldfish helps feed our plants and our plants clean our fish's water.

RN: What are some additional steps that students can take to start living a more sustainable lifestyle?

AM:  More steps that students can take to be more sustainable would be to carpool with their friends and roommates when leaving campus, making sure their lights are off when they leave their rooms, opening up their blinds for natural light to grow your own herbs and warm up your dorm, recycle your paper, plastic and metals, compost your food waste, don't buy single use items like paper towels or paper plates, buy rainforest alliance certified products to protect the rainforests, set your thermostat low and learn to cuddle with your friends for warmth, hug a tree, thank Mother Nature, and if you screw up, just try again.