As you gather your belongings for life at Macalester, consider these tips:

Energy: Help Mac achieve Climate Neutrality by 2025

  • Carefully consider if you can live without a mini fridge. They can account for 50% of electricity use in dorm rooms! Most students find them unnecessary. If you feel the need to have a refrigerator in your room, talk to your roommate and consider sharing.
  • Use a power-strip or surge protector to easily turn off your idle appliances. Even when the power is turned off, plugged-in appliances still use energy!
  • Bring compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) instead of incandescent—they last about 10 times longer, use 1/3 of the energy, and give off the same quality of light.
  • Bring a clothesline or drying rack to dry your clothes instead of using the clothes dryers. You’ll save money, energy and wear on your clothes.
  • Do not bring unnecessary electrical equipment such as toothbrushes, pencil sharpeners, and hairdryers. Also, there is no need to bring your own television or printer because they are readily available around campus.
  • For any appliances or electronics you decide to purchase check for Energy Star products.

Waste: Help Mac get to Zero Waste by 2020

  • Bring reusable cups and silverware to avoid using disposables. Use Tupperware instead of Styrofoam for your restaurant leftovers.
  • Buy biodegradable detergents such as Restore, Seventh Generation, Earth Friendly, or Method.
  • Buy a BPA-Free (Bisphenol-A Free) reusable bottle and coffee mug. These replace disposable plastic bottles and paper cups for beverages saving energy, raw materials, and money.
  • When packing, consider using towels and newspaper as packaging material rather than purchasing bubble wrap or other new protective materials.
  • Check out local second hand shops and antique stores for unique décor items and things to help you organize. 
  • Tuck a recycling bin underneath your desk!


  • The Twin Cities are very bike friendly! Bring a bike, a strong lock, and a helmet or get one once you get to Macalester. It is also easy to borrow a bike at the library through Mac’s bikeshare program.
  • HourCar: the Twin Cities’ car sharing program. HOURCAR serves the Macalester community and is available to students as young as 18. Cars are available for as little as $6 per hour, and gas and insurance are included in the price. It’s a lot cheaper and easier than bringing your own car (which you can’t do anyway). For more information go to


When signing up for classes consider taking a sustainability-focused class. Some options include:

  • Architecture + Circumstance + Sustainability
  • Sustainability and the Campus
  • Psychology of Sustainable Behavior
  • Education and the Challenge of Globalization
  • Climate and Society
  • Science and Citizenship
  • Consumer Nation: American Consumer Culture in the 20th Century
  • Economics of Global Food Problems

Check out the model green dorm website for more ideas on green products and sustainable living tips for students.

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Here are some of the projects and organizations at Mac that might interest YOU!

Bon Appetit - Macalester's food service provider started the "Low Carbon Diet" as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food. Check out the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food choices here:

Environmental Studies Department - Whether or not you’re thinking about majoring in ES, check out what the department has to offer. They sponsor events, bring in speakers for “Enviro Thursday” and act as a huge support and resource for student activism.

HOURCAR is at Macalester! - HOURCAR is the Twin Cities’ car sharing program. With four cars at Macalester (and dozens more throughout the Twin Cities), HOURCAR serves the Macalester community and is available to students as young as 18. Cars are available for a per hour fee, and gas and insurance are included in the price. With a reserved parking spot on campus, it’s a lot cheaper and easier than bringing your own car. You can find out more, or apply now, at . Also, you can keep up to date with HOURCAR goings-on at the HOURCAR blog ( ) and make sure to become our Facebook Fan ( ).

Mac Bike - Providing free repairs, bike loans and group rides around the Twin Cities is what Mac Bike does best! In this way, they promote the idea that “bikes are traffic” and encourage less reliance on fossil-fueled transportation.

MacCARES - Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy Society is a group of students committed to working for a sustainable future both on campus and beyond. Projects have ranged from renewable energy rallies to a Minnesota Citizens Conference to green-roofing on campus.

MacPIRG - The Macalester College Public Interest Research Group is part of a statewide, student-run non-profit organization that works toward change in areas of social justice, environmental preservation, corporate accountability, and good government. Recent efforts have included organizing Campus Wars, an energy-saving competition between several Minnesota colleges.

MULCH - Macalester Urban Land and Community Health is a group dedicated to caring for the organic community garden, getting dirty and spreading the word about sustainable agriculture.

Sustainability Advisory Committee - The mission of the Sustainability Advisory Committee is to oversee the implementation of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and the Talloires Declaration. The committee will also recommend policies and practices which best reflect College’s commitment to an environmentally sustainable world and will function as a conduit for information exchange about campus sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability Office – The Sustainability Office is always working on new initiatives from student projects to achieving carbon neutrality. Check them out for great resources or ideas.

Sustainability Student Workers – These student worker positions are focused specifically on sustainability and are scattered throughout 12 different departments on campus. Or, you can work with your current supervisor to change some of your duties to involve sustainability for your department.

Zero Waste Committee – The Zero Waste Committee meets on a monthly basis to monitor and discuss waste, recycling and composting on campus and works to reduce waste production on campus to Zero! They also work on various projects such as Zero Waste events and Move-out at the end of the year.

For more information visit Sustainablility at Macalester