How green is the average Lawrentian?

Jessica Vogt

A day in the life: Just how “Green” is the average Lawrence student? We’ll find out this term.
When I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night last night, all the hallway lights and the bathroom lights — including the shower lights — were still on when I got there. “Have these been on all night?” I thought. “Do they need to be?”
This got me thinking: Just how “green” or Earth-conscious is the average Lawrence student? This term, my column will follow a typical Lawrence student through a typical day, investigating the “greenness” of day-to-day activities. This week’s article will present some of the questions that will be answered during the term, from shower water use to what you eat.
7:45 a.m.: Wake up, shower, and get ready for class. How long is the average Lawrentian’s shower? How often do you shower? What kinds of shower products do you use and where do they go after they disappear down the drain? Do you turn off the bathroom lights upon leaving if there’s no one else there? When you get dressed, what are the clothes you wear made of? Where do they come from and how are they made? Are there more “green” clothes on the market (and affordable for college students)?
8:30 a.m.: Class. Bet you thought there’d be nothing “un-green” about learning. But what are you taking notes on? A computer that uses energy? A bleached, bright white new notebook with a shiny cover? Reused one-sided computer paper? And do you print out all those PDFs that your philosophy professor e-mails to you? Is it better to print out an article or read it on the computer?
12:20 p.m.: Library. What can possibly be wrong with a building of books that you can check out and use and reuse again and again? Think about it. Is there even an argument you can make against the “greenness” of libraries? But what about the per capita light use in the library, including those few lights that are left on all night? What about the other large academic buildings on campus? Here, I’ll also look at light-use in large buildings in general across the U.S., because lights are often left on all night for so-called security reasons in many public or private buildings.
1:30 p.m.: Lunch. Here’s the one you’ve been waiting for. How “green” are you eating — or can you even eat “green” — at Downer, Lucy’s or The Grill? Is cafeteria food inherently more, less or about the same “green” than conventional, home-cooked food? Does it matter where our foods come from? What are the most “green” foods? And the big one: meat, vegetarian, or vegan — what’s the “greenest”?
9 p. m.: Parties. The ultimate question I know you’ve all been dying to know the answer to: Wow “green” are LU parties? Are mixed drinks or beer better on the environment? What kind of cup are you drinking from — a red Solo or the clear SOUP glasses? How much waste is created from the average party? Do you recycle all those beer cans and paper “Franzia” cartons? And finally, how to “green” your next party.
2 a m.: Bedtime. Another kicker of a question — how “green” is your sex life? Is it possible to have a “green” sex life? And also the basics of dorm room temperature control. Do you open your window in the middle of the winter because your room overheats? Do you crank you heat if you can, rather than putting on more clothing? How can you make yourself not freeze or roast in campus housing in a “green” manner?
If you have specific questions about “green” campus living, I am happy to try to address them in the column. Please e-mail or with questions or comments. Start thinking: Just how “green” are you?