New students encouraged to move in sustainably

New SF State students moving onto campus for the fall semester will get an early lesson on one of the University's core values: sustainability.

The University is asking incoming residential students to make their move-in as "green" as possible by not bringing unnecessary items, packing their belongings into plastic containers rather than boxes and purchasing new items that are reusable.

"While parents cannot over-prepare their children for college, they can over-supply them," said SF State Sustainability Programs Manager Caitlin Steele. "Students should be aware of the space they're given in the residence halls and not bring too much to campus."

Steele encourages students to talk to their roommates prior to moving in to avoid bringing duplicate items. When students purchase new items for college, Steele added, they should look for things they can use throughout the year, such as reusable water bottles, coffee mugs and shopping bags. And instead of packing everything into cardboard boxes, she suggests students use plastic containers that can turn into storage during the school year.

One item that students should consider bringing? A bicycle.

"This is a very bike-friendly campus," Steele said. "There's also an extensive bike route throughout San Francisco that connects to the University. It's a great way to get around."

To further drive home the message of sustainable living, the campus will hold a "Zero Waste Lunch" on Friday, Aug. 24. All of the food and containers at the lunch will be either recyclable or compostable, meaning no waste will be sent to landfills. Staff members will be on hand during the Zero Waste Lunch to help students learn how to recycle and compost.

Sustainable living is a key part of SF State's mission -- and campus life. The University has been ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges, and by the Sierra Club as one of the United States' 100 greenest colleges. SF State currently diverts 75 percent of its waste away from landfills, and, like the city of San Francisco, has a goal of zero waste by the year 2020.

Students, including new students, play a big role in helping SF State be as environmentally friendly as possible, Steele said.

"The new students have a major impact on our waste diversion rates and on the impact this campus has on local landfills and water systems. Living sustainably is important as a member of the SF State community," she said.

For sustainable move-in tips, visit To learn more about sustainable living at SF State, including recycling and composting, visit the Sustainable SF State website.

-- Jonathan Morales