How You Can Help

Know Your Ecological Footprint:

An Ecological Footprint is the metric that allows us to calculate human pressure on the planet. to learn more and to take the ecological footprint quiz to calculate your personal impact.

Beware the “Phantom Load”:

This is the energy used by appliances and electronics when they are OFF. Yes, you heard that right. The EPA estimates that phantom loads account for 6-10% of America’s total energy use. The good news is that this problem is easily fixed: unplug all computers, electronics, chargers, and appliances (except refrigerators), OR plug everything into a power strip and turn it off when you are done. Doing this will significantly cut campus energy use and cost!


  • According to the US Department of Energy, there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, but this amount of energy is less than the energy used when a computer is running for long periods of time. For energy savings and convenience, consider turning off the monitor if you aren’t going to use your PC for more than 20 minutes, and both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your PC for more than 2 hours.
  • Make sure your monitors, printers, and other accessories are on a power strip/surge protector. When this equipment is not in use for extended periods, turn off the switch on the power strip to prevent them from drawing power even when shut off.
  • The less time a PC is on, the longer it will “last.” PCs also produce heat, so turning them off reduces building cooling loads.
  • Computer monitors use 2-3 times more electricity then the CPU, so turn those screen savers off! They waste energy.
  • Enable the “sleep mode” feature on your computer because a ‘sleeping’ computer uses 70% less energy! In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. Macs’ energy saving settings are found under system preferences in the apple menu.
  • Configure your computer to “hibernate” automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity. The “hibernate mode” turns the computer off in a way that doesn’t require you to reload everything when you switch it back on. Allowing your computer to hibernate saves energy and is more time-efficient than shutting down and restarting your computer from scratch.
  • If you plan to purchase a computer for school, there are a few things to keep in mind:
    • Laptops use 50-80% less energy than desktops.
    • When buying a laptop, look for systems comprised completely of 3.3-volt components (processor, memory and LCD). These systems use 40 to 50% less energy than 5.0-volt systems, and are generally equipped with a lighter battery.
    • Remember, only buy ENERGY STAR rated computers!
    • Recycled ink toner cartridges are available at office supply stores. This utilizes existing products and reduces the need for new production.


#1 rule: if you don’t need it, don’t buy it! We consume a lot of electronics and appliances, in part because of constant technology upgrades. The problem is that these gadgets take a lot of energy and resources to produce and use, and create toxic waste. When you need to purchase look for the ENERGY STAR label that ensures product energy efficiency.

Share with friends! Dorm fridges are energy hogs: they consume up to four times as much energy per volume than normal size refrigerators. All dorm kitchens have at least one large fridge for students to keep food in. That is the best option.


Again, share! Most dorms on campus have TVs in the common room with VCRs and/or DVD players. TVs use the most energy of any household appliance, so not having one in your dorm room can greatly reduce energy use!


Turn lights off when not needed. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are an excellent lighting alternative because use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Hence CFLs reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the College money. Students can request a CFL for dorm room use from Recycling. Burned out CFLs should be brought to Recycling for proper disposal.


  • Buy paper with the highest recycled post-consumer content you can find. 100% is always the best, but do not settle for less than 30%. Recycled paper saves trees, water and energy.
  • Use paper that is processed chlorine free. Chlorine bleaching releases dioxins into the environment, which are believed to be the most toxic chemical ever created.
  • Paper is probably the most used resource at any college or university. Here at Wilson, most professors realize this and encourage the use of one-sided paper (paper that has already been printed on one side) for assignments, papers, note taking and lab reports. You can get free one-sided paper from computer labs, the print shop, or at the recycling warehouse.

Recycled notebooks made by the recycling crew are sold in the bookstore. These are made from old book covers and one-sided paper. One subject and five subject spiral notebooks are available in the bookstore and at office supply stores anywhere. Check the Free Store for notebooks, as they often have used ones in reasonably good condition. Or better yet, get crafty and make your own!



  • Only wash full loads to maximize energy and water efficiency.
  • Wash clothes with cold water. That saves the energy that is needed to make water hot.
  • Line dry whenever it is above 50° outside because line drying saves the energy used to power and heat dryers.
  • Buy detergent that is phosphate free. These soaps are easy to find most grocery stores. Detergents are released into the river as treated sewage water. When phosphates are present, they poison aquatic life. So, go phosphate free!


The school provides green cleaning supplies for dorms. These are available for your use should you need them for your room. These products are not as harmful to the environment when they leech into water and soil. WWC has a green cleaning product policy, so please do not bring toxic chemicals to campus!


WWC recycles more than you might assume: glass, plastic (#1 and #2), paper, cardboard, steel, aluminum, packing peanuts, tires, floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, Tapes, and cases, batteries, electronics, cell phones, fluorescent lights, printer cartridges, appliances, pallets, old text books… It is important to know what can be recycled and to avoid purchasing non-recyclable products and those with non-recyclable packaging or containers. Learn more about recycling on-campus.


  • Conserving water conserves electricity: WWC’s water comes from reservoirs that use electricity to process the water; waste water goes to a sewage treatment plant that also requires a lot of electricity to operate; heating hot water accounts for a lot of on-campus energy use.
  • All faucets at WWC are water saving low-flow fixtures. But you still have a role to play! Take the shortest shower you possibly can, use available waterless urinals and composting toilets, only do full laundry loads, wash dishes efficiently, and report leaks or broken faucets.

Get in Motion!

Student Initiatives:

Students lead the charge! Over the years, students have initiated sustainable practices across campus:

  • the vegetarian CowPie Café
  • EcoDorm
  • Community Bike Shop
  • Native Grass Crew
  • Blacksmith Shop
  • Permaculture
  • RECs purchases
  • Bio-diesel use
  • Solar walkway lights
  • EcoTeam
  • Compost operation
  • and so much more…

It is easy to identify problems on campus. The challenge is committing to work on solving the problems. College staff and faculty cannot do it alone. Students are essential to the College’s long-term sustainability success. Get involved and start networking!

Crew Initiatives

Creative, sustainable solutions can happen at work too! Student work crews house fantastic resources and often provide a framework for students to transform their interests into action. Here’s what some of the crews are up to this year:

BIO/ENS Crew has a cistern to use rain water to water the greenhouses, and they recently installed compost bins in the science building.

Recycling Crew is making reusable bags for recycling bins which they pick up, empty out, and bring back to their respective locations for reuse.

The Bookstore is using recycled, biodegradable bags and has quite an array of environmentally friendly products, such as toothbrushes and razors made from recycled yogurt cups.

Fiber Arts Crew is making rugs from rags and worn our clothes from the free store. They are also looking into products which can be made with plastic yarn, made from cutting up plastic shopping bags and weaving it. They have a new line of bamboo and organic cotton items, recaning old broken chairs from storage, and experimenting with making things out of old bike inner tubes (like headbands and woven chair seats).

MACVAC planted herb and edible gardens at the school so that the children can enjoy eating fresh food that they helped plant. They have also written a grant to the playground more natural and engaging to children.

Plumbing Crew completed their Green Plumbers USA Core Curriculum accreditation and is scheduling a campus event to accredit their 12 student crew members. They have been surveying multiple sites around campus to determine the feasibility for installation of thermal hot water systems. They are looking into fixture upgrades, greywater recycling, and rainwater/condensate collection for reuse. They are installing water filters on all water fountains and water coolers to reduce purchasing of bottled water. They are purchasing coveralls to reduce the need for crew members to wash their clothes as frequently.

Residence Life has formed a committee called the Building Environments Advisory (BEA) Committee, on which Res. Life students and staff advise the Director of Residence Life towards making sustainable purchases and policy decisions for the residence halls.

The College President has suggested to the Landscaping Crew putting an orchard in his front yard so that fresh fruit could be picked and less grass would need to be mowed. No movement has been made on this, but perhaps it could be pursued?


Get Crafty!

Extra plastic bottles?

recycled greenhouse seedling

Consider starting some seedlings or go all out and push for a recycled bottle greenhouse… we certainly have the raw materials!

Scrap Paper?

recycled paper

Make beautiful, handmade paper from the “waste” in the blue bin!

Bind your own notebooks!

Old T-shirts, scrap fabric?

recycled patch

Embroider some patches to jazz up your aging clothing or accessories!

Homemade body care and beauty products!


Body Butter Lotion: