Editorial: Students should carry on campus commitment to going green

As arrogant as it may sound, it’s not rare for the University or the Champaign-Urbana community to be ranked among the best of the best.

In the past year, the University has been at the top of the list in categories ranging from best U.S. universities to the top producers of female entrepreneurs.

Still though, we were somewhat surprised to learn that the University was recently ranked the 24th most green university in the United States and named a Tree Campus USA. But, after further thought, the honors made sense.

For starters, the University standard for building projects is LEED gold certification — a sustainability certification that exceeds governmental requirements. And in the fall, the University approved the Illinois Climate Action Plan, better known as iCAP, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The University and its surrounding communities are certainly doing their parts to foster a more eco-friendly community, but students play a role in that effort too — even if it seems simple or unintentional. Most students walk or bike to class, and seemingly everyone has a CamelBak water bottle.

The abundance of recycling bins in campus buildings serves as a good indicator that most students are at least aware of what’s recyclable, even if they don’t recycle regularly on their own. And be it a lack of time, or fear of massive water and energy bills, we’re fairly sure most students know not to take 20 minute showers or run the heat at a toasty 77 degrees in the winter.

Convenience probably plays a major role in some of these decisions, but regardless, they’re habits we can take with us when we’re no longer at the University.

Whether you’re graduating this year, next year or three years from now, you should keep your college habits in mind and share them when you can. If you notice your co-worker buys a new disposable water bottle every morning, tell them about how much you, and your wallet, love your reusable one. Or if you live with a roommate who can’t help but crank the A/C the minute the snow melts, suggest cracking open a window instead.

The Champaign-Urbana community and the University have long been producing citizens and students who help create change. Be it a ground-breaking invention, radical entrepreneurship or wild talent, this place is a breeding ground for new ideas and success. Why not use that spirit to help the environment?

Though the world celebrated Earth Day on Friday, the sentiment is something we should keep in mind every day. If we want to keep enjoying our world, we need to take care of it.

Though there are bigger issues to be tackled in regards to sustainability and climate change, the little decisions we make every day add up to a major impact on the Earth’s well-being.