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"Sustainability is an absolutely urgent issue. Our students are learning how to ensure that human rights are protected around the globe."
Director, Rock Ethics Institute

What You Can Do In The Residence Hall


  • Dress for the weather. Dressing in layers allows for adjusting to various building temperatures.
  • Nittany Lion with freshmanControl your climate. Set the temperature in rooms to 70 degrees during the fall, winter, and spring seasons and to 75 degrees during the summer season.
  • Keep it closed. Rather than opening a window when a building seems too hot or cold for comfort, report the problem to OPP.
  • Get approval. If your room is too cold, please contact your R.A. or your commons housing office.
  • Use blinds to reduce uncomfortable office temperatures. Lower blinds during the day in the summer to block the sun. In the winter, lower blinds at night to keep heat inside.


  • Flick the switch to save electricity and money. Incandescent bulbs give off heat, so they should be turned off whenever you leave a room. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) should be turned off if you will be away for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Spotlight the action. Use task lighting—such as desk lamps—rather than overhead lighting whenever possible.
  • Let the sun shine in. If you can, sit near a window or open the shades and use natural light whenever possible.
  • Replace incandescent and halogen bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs, including compact fluorescents (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). Learn more about types of lightbulbs.
  • Trying to figure out what type of bulb to buy? Use the following table of the three major types of light bulbs as a guide.


  • Share: Reduce the number of appliances through shared use, such as a group using one refrigerator rather than each having their own.
  • Purchase Energy Star and EPEAT* rated computers and appliances.
  • Give your computer a powernap by activating all power management settings and turning it off when not in use.
  • Use power strips to shut appliances completely off when possible, such as turning your printer or gaming system off when you leave the room.


  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Get exercise and save energy at once.
  • Ride a bicycle to class or work.
  • Take the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) bus around the campus to get to class or work.
    • Blue Loop, White Loop, Green Link, Red Link are free campus buses.
    • CATA Schedule Information
    • CATA buses use compressed natural gas that results in fewer emissions than gasoline.
  • Take the bus off campus.
    • Buying a bus pass for $49 a month is cheaper than having a car that includes purchasing gas, car insurance, and maintenance.
    • CATA Schedule Information
  • Participate in Rideshare. The free service matches students with car and van pools Great way to take weekend trips Take the campus shuttle service around campus weekdays from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. The service is free.
  • Walk around the campus for exercise


  • Don’t Buy. Before making a purchase, consider other ways to meet the same need. Can you borrow it? Share with someone? Reuse? In general, what other ways might you meet the same need?
  • If You Have to Buy. . .Buy Green. Use the following Buy Green Checklist.
    • Buy used & buy local
    • Buy durable
    • Check for energy efficiency (look for the Energy Star and EPEAT* labels for computers and appliances)
    • Get the highest recycled content possible
    • Is it made with natural, non-toxic, organic, renewable resources?
    • Look for low to no packaging
    • Reusable or recyclable (packaging and product)
    • Fair treatment of employees and suppliers
    • Use online resources such as the Good Guide, EnergyStar, EPEAT*


  • Recycle It! These items can be recycled at University Park:
    • Mixed office paper, enveloped, cardboard, newspapers, gift wrap, Post-it notes, books and magazine.
    • Plastic containers, plastic bottles, plastic bags, Styrofoam, bubble wrap and packing pillows.
    • Glass, metal and aluminum cans, Motor Oil and Cooking Oil, Toner Cartridges.
    • Computers, cell phones and MP3 players, light bulbs, batteries, CD's and DVD's
    • Need a container for batteries or have items that require special pick-up? Contact Al Matyasovsky at
    • For detailed information, visit the Recycling and Waste Management guidelines
  • Compost it! There are many items that can be composted at University Park:
    • Food waste, fruit, diary products, meat, and bones.
    • Pizza boxes, compostable plates, cups and silverware, paper towels and tissues, filters, coffee grounds and tea bags.
    • For specifics, please view the Composting guidelines.
  • Paper Cut: 33% of American waste is paper.
    • Cut paper use by printing double sided.
    • Change the margin settings from the 1.25” default to 0.75” and save 5% of paper, according to the Mueller study and the Penn State Green Destiny Council.
    • If you are flooded by catalogs, stop the overflow by contacting
  • Buy Green: Get a reusable bottle and help to reduce plastic use.
    • Only 25% of plastic beverage bottles are recycled nationwide.
    • Purchase items that are minimally packaged and that can be recycled.
    • Take reusable bags with you when you shop.
    • Close the resource loop by purchasing products made with recycled content, such as paper and carpets.

Water Use

  • Bathroom Actions:
    • Take shorter showers.
    • Close the tap while brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Laundry Actions:
    • Wash clothes in cold water.
    • Wash full loads of clothes.
  • Kitchen Actions:
    • Run the dishwasher with a full load of dishes.
    • Fill a dishpan with water for cleaning dishes instead of constantly letting water run.