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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Before she graduated from Smith College in 2009, Jessica O’Hare developed an environmental sustainability back-to-school shopping list for the students who come after her.

“Environmental sustainability is an integral piece of student life at Smith,” wrote O’Hare in prefacing her list. “As an incoming student, you can start your contribution to the community by keeping a few sustainable purchasing tips in mind.”

The list developed by O’Hare, who earned a bachelor’s degree in government, is available in the new-student orientation booklet and online.

Dano Weisbord, Smith environmental sustainability director, noted that asking students to think about the supplies they bring to campus is an area where O’Hare thought Smith could have a “big impact.”

“It demonstrates to students both that environmental sustainability is important here at Smith,” said Weisbord, “and that we need their help in accomplishing our goals. Environmental sustainability is a collective effort.”

What to bring:

  1. Cloth bags to tote your purchases from downtown shops and grocery stores.

  2. A bicycle. Northampton is a bike-friendly city, and bikes are a convenient mode of transportation.

  3. Your reusable mugs. Some coffee shops offer a discount for bringing a to-go mug. Dining Services doesn’t provide any paper "to-go" cups.

  4. Tupperware to tote food cuts down on unnecessary waste. Dining Services does not provide "to-go" containers.

  5. Energy Star appliances. Stereos, televisions, printers, computers, lamps and other appliances are all available in Energy Star models, which reduce energy use significantly as compared to other models.

  6. Power Strips. Power strips cut down on vampire loads – the power drain that occurs when an electronic device is turned “off” but still plugged into the electrical socket. Plugging such electronic equipment as cell phone chargers, stereos and computers into a power strip that can be shut off at night or when you are in class, saves energy.

  7. Compact fluorescent bulbs, an energy-saving alternative to incandescent bulbs. 

What not to bring:

  1. A refrigerator. Many houses have shared fridges in kitchenettes.

  2. A computer printer. There is no shortage of printing centers.

  3. Incandescent bulbs. They use three times the power of compact fluorescent bulbs.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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