Being in college, there are many limitations on the things you have, the things you can do, and the ways you can do them. Many college students do not have the ability to cook, or they have very minimal options for means of a kitchen. Typically they just have access to a microwave and a mini fridge. They often do not have personal bathrooms and have to share with their entire dorm floor. They often do not have cars and must use public transportation for their means of travel and commuting if needed. Having just graduated from Fordham University, I understand very well the limitations and struggles of being a college student.

However, I commuted to college at Fordham – so my experience is quite different than the average person. I was able to go home, use a full kitchen and use my own bathroom and shower. I often did not eat at the dining halls on campus because they’re not great and if I had anything to throw home or recycle, I’d more often than not bring it home with me and do so there. 

black metal bunk bed

I had always wondered what resources my college, Fordham University, had to offer as far as eco-friendly alternatives and options go. So I did some research. 

Fordham’s Resources 

Fordham has a tab on their website entitled “Campus Recycling” which outlines what materials they recycle and what buildings recycle what. I know from being a student at Fordham, that there are plenty of recycling bins all across the campus. What I didn’t know was that Fordham actually helps donate old furniture (which can be a pain in the butt to do), toner cartridges, and any construction related materials that they use / don’t use, which is very reassuring knowing how much construction Fordham is undergoing recently. I was especially relieved to read that Fordham has a process for donating old furniture, especially with students changing their living situations year to year or even semester to semester. This can help prevent a lot of large waste!

I also found a really great Sustainability Guide, created by students, that addressed things like turning your dorm room lights off when leaving the room, public transportation options, and unplugging your chords from outlets when they’re not being used. I definitely recommend checking this out! 

I was also very pleased with Fordham’s Green Campus Initiatives, which included facts like:

  • More than 600 cubic yards of leaf and debris are composted annually 
  • They are reducing their use of inorganic fertilizers
  • The Bronx campus has one of the largest collections of mature American elms trees
  • All Fordham campuses use low flow irrigation systems
  • Fordham uses certified green cleaning products

I was also happy to discover that in 2019, Fordham provided an option for recycling technology– which is a harder material to recycle. They do say that they are not responsible for any information left on the devices however, so make sure you do a factory reset before recycling! 

four assorted-color trash bins beside gray wall

A huge concern I had when it came to Fordham’s dining halls was food waste and I was relieved to see a sustainability tab on the dining hall website. Fordham’s dining halls ensure they do their best to minimize food waste and reduce packaging when possible. 

Fordham’s Students: Student Led Sustainability 

Beyond Fordham’s administration related protocols, I wanted to look further into what resources students were putting time and effort into. I myself was a part of a club at Fordham called Fashion for Philanthropy, so I knew there were a few sustainable / environmental related clubs on campus, but I wanted to better look into them. 

Fashion for Philanthropy

FFP is a club that I was a part of for the last 2 years I was at Fordham. I really loved being a part of this community because they had such fun events, like a fashion show in the Spring, and they did a great job of educating us on ethical and sustainable brands. Their Instagram handle is @fordhamffp if you’d like to check them out!

Fordham Sustainable Fashion 

“Fordham Sustainable Fashion is a subsection of the Social Innovation Collaboratory (at Fordham). Our key pillars are circularity, innovation, and inclusivity, and our goal is to create a movement on campus and beyond, by tackling sustainability-related challenges in the fashion industry. We collaborate with professionals from sustainable fashion brands to expand our network, knowledge base, and skill sets, and ultimately educate the Fordham community and make real world impacts in the industry. This semester we are working on several exciting events and projects that will involve the entire Fordham community, so keep an eye out to get involved soon!”

group of people standing under string lights

From what I’ve seen, Fordham Sustainable Fashion is doing a really great job of educating Fordham students on how to be involved in fashion ethically, which is an amazing effort especially in NYC. College life can lead to a lot of clothing waste, so making a conscious effort to avoid that is so impactful.

Fordham Fair Trade

“Students for Fair Trade seek to educate Fordham students about the impact that their consumer choices have on laborers and communities around the world. Fordham is a Fair Trade University, which means we have 2+ Fair Trade Certified products at every dining location.”

Students for Fair Trade at Fordham do a really great job of educating students about Fair Trade- that being the certification signifying that a product was produced sustainably and equitably. This can really help ensure that you are ethically buying and often when a product is made ethically, it’s also made stronger, which can help prevent replacement purchases.

Fordham Sustainability 

Fordham Sustainability is a student organization that does an amazing job of educating students about all things sustainability. They recently posted on their Instagram account (fordhamsustainability) about community fridges and why they’re important. For more context, community fridges are a form of aid for struggling neighborhoods where people with the means to help can donate and fill a community fridge to help that neighborhood. 

Fordham Flea 

Fordham Flea is an organization and Instagram account (fordham.flea) that gives students the ability to sell and buy from each other, therefore eliminating waste when they get tired of some of their belongings. 

black smartphone showing icons with icons

Actions You Can Take

Fordham student or not, I hope this motivates you to ensure that your school is making efforts to minimize their waste. If your school does not have adequate resources, create them! If we all work together, we can rally/petition/vote for better green resources and calls to action.