New School News

Want to Live More Sustainably? Here Are Some Tips

Recycling at The New School is a simple task, and one that all students engage in. In accordance with the university’s mission to address climate change, students are encouraged to go further than just recycling, which is why the Tishman Environment and Design Center has a list of ways that you can help reduce your environmental impact further.

As an institution, The New School takes climate change very seriously. The university put forth a plan to fully divest from fossil fuels, created a diverse catalog of curriculum options on the environment and climate justice, and established the Tishman Center, a facility that fosters the integration of design strategies and creative social and ecological approaches to environmental issues.

Students can complement these efforts by taking individual actions to address climate change. The following are a few tips from the Tishman Center for ways students can reduce their carbon footprint.

Bring Your Own … Water Bottles, Coffee Mugs, and Shopping Bags

Want to save money—and reduce waste? Bring your own mug to the Dining Commons at the University Center or Lang Café and fill it up with coffee or tea for only 99 cents. The New School does not sell bottled water, so invest in a reusable option. Also, be sure to also pick up a reusable bag at The New Store. Finally, take the pledge from the Mayor’s Office and get a free water bottle, mug, or bag.

Draw the Curtains

Chic curtains show that you have excellent taste. They’re also great insulators, so be sure to draw your curtains before you leave your room. You’ll keep the heat out during the summer and maintain a cozy temperature in the winter.

Power Down

You probably keep your computer turned on even when you’re not using it. But it’s better for the earth if you power it down, as it draws wasteful electricity. Use a power strip to switch off multiple devices at once, or just unplug chargers when they’re not in use. And commit this mantra to memory: “Last one out turns the lights out.”

Activate Your Computer’s Efficiency Settings

Want to save even more energy? Change your computer settings to greatly reduce the amount of energy you use. Follow these instructions to activate power management features on your computer.

Keep Batteries out of the Trash

Why throw something away when you can recycle it? Rechargeable and lead-acid batteries release hazardous materials as they decompose (and it’s illegal in New York City to throw them away in the trash). Recycle batteries on campus by dropping them into the blue tubes in most building lobbies.

Reduce Shower Water Waste

True eco-heroes lather up their bodies with soap before turning on the shower. They know that fresh water is finite, and it takes natural gas and oil to heat the water. Once the water is on, quickly rinse off and leave the shower secure in the knowledge that you’ve just committed a heroic act.

Launder with Care

Hot water feels great in the shower, but your clothes don’t care what temperature it is. Select the cold wash cycle when doing laundry, as approximately 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes into heating water. Make sure you buy only detergents with a blue-and-white High Efficiency (HE) logo on the packaging, as the machines on campus are designed for this type of detergent. Not all ecofriendly laundry products live up to their green claims, so look for “biodegradable” and “plant-based” on labels.

Sort Your Waste

Recycling is one of the most basic steps you can take when it comes to sustainability. In accordance with New York City law, recycling is collected from all buildings on campus. Compost is collected at the Dining Commons at the University Center and in the Lang Café. It’s important to take the time to locate these bins and sort your waste. Follow the signs on or above the bins to keep recyclables and compost from going to landfills.

Eat Lower on the Food Chain

The production of meat creates more harmful greenhouse gas emissions than the production of fruits and vegetables. When you cut the amount of meat you consume, you also reduce your carbon footprint. Try introducing soy or other vegetable proteins into your diet, and make a commitment to Meatless Mondays.

Bike to Class

For those students who live too far to walk from their residence hall to class, biking is a healthy and environmentally friendly option. Find the bike rack closest to your class on the Sustainability Wayforming map, and be sure to check out Citi Bike deals on

Print Mindfully

We’re living in the age of technology, which means that paper is becoming obsolete. The New School has mandated the use of 100 percent post-consumer recycled-content copy paper in all desktop printers, fax machines, and floor copiers. Conserve paper by using double-sided printing and copying. Hold on to your one-sided printouts, and use the blank side to take notes or make to-do lists.

Take the Pledge

Take the New School Sustainability Pledge, and check out the Sustainability Wayforming map from the Tishman Center. Then keep an eye out for the new sustainability logo around campus! Use #sustainableTNS to share your sustainable thoughts and actions on social media.

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