Living Green at Mount Holyoke

Mount Holyoke College is committed to reducing the environmental footprint of campus operations and student life on campus. While all community members play a role in this effort, students who call MHC home for much of the year have a particularly significant opportunity to green Mount Holyoke.

The College is actively working to reduce our footprint in a number of areas including: energy and climate change, waste reduction and recycling, green building, responsible land management, water conservation, and hazardous materials management. You can find more about these efforts using the navigation on the left.

So, what can you do?

Get started with these easy steps!

In Your Residence Hall

  1. MHC Residence Halls are "incandescent free areas". To get a free LED bulb for your desk or floor lamp email with your residence hall and room number.
  2. Turn off the lights and use natural lighting whenever possible.
  3. Turn off your computer at night, and set it to go to "sleep mode" when idle.
  4. Keep windows closed in cold weather to keep the warm air in, and learn how to control your heater.
  5. Turn off and unplug TVs, printers, stereos, chargers or other electronics when not in use and over breaks.
  6. Learn how to control the heat in your room.
  7. Reduce your shower time to save water and energy.
  8. Wash full loads of laundry and use cold water. Use concentrated high efficiency environmentally friendly laundry detergent.
  9. Use a drying rack to dry your clothes.
  10. Think before you print, do I need a paper copy of this? If you do, print double-sided and re-use one-sided paper.
  11. Learn what can be recycled and recycle what you can.
  12. Defrost and unplug your refrigerator over breaks.

Where You Eat

  1. Take only what you can eat.
  2. Compost food waste and napkins in dining halls and Blanchard.
  3. Make the time to eat in dining halls instead of eating on the run and using to-go containers.
  4. Don't take a paper bag at the Atrium Café or Torrey Grab n' Go.
  5. Return green baskets to Blanchard.
  6. Use your travel mug or wide-mouth water bottle.
  7. Use reusable dishware and cutlery instead of one-time use products.

Getting Around

  1. Take the PVTA or bike instead of driving.
  2. Walk or bike across campus instead of taking your car.

Out on Campus

  1. Burn Calories, Not Kilowatts: Use the stairs, not the elevator.
  2. Turn off all lights if you are the last one out of a room.
  3. Turn off computers in computer labs and classrooms when you are done working.
  4. Think before you print, do I need a paper copy of this?  If you do, print double-sided and re-use one-sided paper.
  5. Find a public recycling area in the building for your bottles/cans and paper.
  6. Don't use automatic door openers unless you need to.

What You Buy

  1. If you need a refrigerator, buy an EnergyStar™ model.
  2. Buy low-wattage electronic devices that are certified by EnergyStar™.
  3. Invest in a reusable wide-mouthed travel mug or water bottle.
  4. Look for products with post-consumer recycled content.
  5. Look for durable products with minimal packaging.
  6. Look for locally grown foods when at the store.

Want to know more?

Energy Conservation

According to a 2003 study at Tulane University*, the top three energy users in a college residence hall are lights, computers, and refrigerators. Combined, these account for over 90% of the energy used in a typical room, and generate 2700 pounds of greenhouse gas in a year.

*Tulane University ENERGY STAR Showcase Dorm Room study by Maureen Devery, updated in Fall 2003 by Cassandra Pace.  See the Energy Star website.

Residential Life has instituted two campus policies to move us from the "before" to the "after" picture.

  1. MHC Residence Halls are now "incandescent free areas"
  2. MHC Residence Halls are EnergyStar™ zones.

What Can I Do?

Recycling and Waste Reduction

Small room-sized recycling bins are available in the basement of every residence hall. Each floor within the residence hall has centrally-located recycling bins. Centrally-located recycling bins are also available in all academic and administrative buildings.

Green Laundry Tips

Changing some aspects of the way you do your laundry can help reduce your ecological footprint as well. Try some of these simple tips, compiled by the ECO-Reps:

  • Since 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is used to heat the water, use the cold water cycle by selecting "Bright Colors" or "Delicates".
  • Use ultra-concentrated detergent to minimize the amount of chemicals entering the environment and the amount of plastic used for the containers.
  • Recycle empty detergent bottles.
  • Try switching to an eco-friendly detergent made with biodegradable ingredients.
  • Use a drying rack or the laundry lines in your laundry room instead of the dryer.
  • If you choose to use a dryer, clean the lint trap before starting the machine. This keeps air circulating efficiently and can cut down on drying time.

Get Involved

Contribute to planning and executing environmental campaigns and programs!