Top 5 Green Move-in Tips

Monday, August 19, 2013

image of a suitcase handle and a tag that says "Next stop uOttawa".

It's the end of the summer and you know what that means? MOVING TIME!!!!!!
Yes, the moment has come for that time-honoured tradition whereby thousands of students flock to the University of Ottawa and hunker down for 8 months of intense working, studying, and partying.

And for about 3,000 students who will be living in residences, this will be their first trip to Ottawa. Now being the helpful people we are here at the Office of Campus Sustainability, we thought that we would share our top 5 tips for ensuring a green move-in here on campus. In fact, even if it isn't your first year, this list could really help you out.


  1. Don't bring your entire closet with you!I know it is tempting to make sure that you have hundreds of clothing / accessory options available to you when you arrive on campus, but take it from us, traveling light is the way to go. There are tonnes of free shirts available at virtually every major festival on campus and let's face it, after your first week here you are just going to be zombie marching to your early morning classes with the first uOttawa shirt and pants combo you can find. And if you do ever find yourself at a loss for clothes, we've got you covered with an unlimited supply of free clothes at the Free Store.

  2. Use Rubbermaid containers or suitcases to travel.
    One of the first things you notice when you get to campus during move-in week is mountain of cardboard created by people packing everything in cardboard boxes. Let me do you a favour, pack everything in large plastic containers or suitcases (this is not a product plug for Rubbermaid, use any large container you would like). First of all, you can store things in these containers all year long (giving you a little extra space in your room). Then you can use them again when you leave. This will likely save you a bunch of money since you have to buy cardboard boxes at the end of the year when you are moving out and they cost a buck a piece. Plus, you would be shocked how often they will come in handy over the course of the year.

  3. Bring a power bar!
    That's right, a power bar. Not the energy packed nutrition kind, the 'I want to plug 50 things in all at once' kind. Take my word for it when I say there are never enough outlets; but don't be fooled and buy yourself a simple electrical outlet splitter (you know, the kind that you can plug 6 things into), no you do yourself right and get a proper power bar. Putting your electronics on a power bar will prevent your things from being damaged if there is a power surge, which is a bonus. But the real fun is using them to prevent phantom loads (this is energy that your electronics use even when they are turned off... it sucks... power). Phantom loads can cost a bunch of money for those of you that have to pay your own electrical bills and with a power bar, you can easily cut all the electricity going to your electronics with one flick of the switch.

  4. Laptops over PCs
    It's not everyone that has a choice of whether to bring a laptop or a PC, but if you do have the choice, a Laptop is the way to go. They not only use less energy as compared to a PC, but they are also portable and can act as a substitute for other electronics, such as televisions, stereos, and DVD players. Trust me, if you want to hang out in a lounge and watch a movie with your friends, dragging a PC to the party won't win you any favours.

  5. Leave the car behind
    Ottawa is one of those transit friendly type towns. As a full-time student at uOttawa, you will receive a U-Pass which will basically get you anywhere you want to go. If not, there are bike share programs, car share programs, and even a couple of dudes that will lend you a unicycle if you need one. Paying for parking on campus is expensive.... like $1000 a year expensive. Put that money towards books or socializing instead. Leaving the car behind will end up being one of the greatest things you've done.

That's all the stuff you need to know to get started on the right foot here (and by right foot we mean green foot). Pretty soon we will have our 'Green Living Guide' available for anyone living in residences or even off campus. If you have any other tips you want to share, we would love to hear them.

 ~ jON - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo


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