Sustainable Living

Sustainability is widely reflected in Humboldt State's vision and values.

Conserving resources, championing social responsibility, as well as reducing our overall carbon footprint, are goals of numerous initiatives and policies. We are deeply involved in creating a campus that operates with sustainability in mind.

Office of Sustainability

Resident Sustainability Advisor

The primary objective of the Resident Sustainability Advisor is to reduce the ecological footprint of Humboldt State University by means of public education, energy conservation, and coordination with established environmentally conscious organizations. As well as provide residents with resources to reduce their carbon footprint, learn about sustainable practices, and start projects of their own.  

Green Room Tour

Having a green room means choosing to reduce the amount of energy and water used, waste created, and consumption of limited natural resources. It also means being creative, staying healthy, saving money, making friends and having fun! 

What does a Green Room look like?

What should you bring – and not bring – from home to set up your own Green Room?

Green Room Virtual Tour

Green Room Certification

If you’re really passionate about being part of this movement, we encourage you to participate in the Green Room Certification program.

Green Room Certification Program


Go Cold for Green & Gold

It’s better for your clothes and better for the environment. Cold water reduces fading, shrinking, and bleeding colors in clothes. Even some stains like coffee or tea, chocolate, grass, or blood are removed better if treated with cold water (source). About 90% of the energy use in washing machines goes towards heating water (source). If a household switched to cold water washing for a year, they would save enough energy to charge an iPhone 4S 30,861 times (source).

We hope you join us in using cold water for your laundry and help to make our earth a little greener in the process!

Day-to-day Waste Reduction

In your room sort out recycling into the blue bin, trash into landfill bin, and compost into the compost bin. How well do you know your waste? Test your waste sorting IQ by taking this two-minute quiz. Go for the win, use the right bin and become a waste reduction champion!

HSU has a single stream recycling system. Paper, cardboard, bottles, cans, Plastics #1-7, tin, plastic grocery bags, paper milk and juice cartons, aluminum, and magazines can be thrown into the blue recycling bin. When full, empty the blue recycling bin in your room into the green dumpster outside your building marked "MIXED RECYCLING". (College Creek residents - recycling goes down the chute marked "MIXED RECYCLING")

HSU keeps over 150 tons of food waste out of the landfill each year. You can start in your own room by keeping compost-able materials in a counter-top compost bin. Food scraps (meat and dairy ok), fruit and vegetables, coffee grounds, bones, soiled paper products, and egg shells are all accepted. When full, empty the compost bin in your room or kitchen into the green, rolling compost bin near the dumpsters labeled, "COMPOST". Counter-top compost bins are available to residents on a first come, first serve basis. Please email to get a compost bin in your room.

Electronic waste is anything with a circuit board, such as cell phones, laptops, microwaves, and stereo equipment. For proper disposal of electronic waste, place them in the E-Cycler bin nearest you: 3rd floor JGC, main exit of the library, or in the alcove near the College Creek mailroom. Batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, CD/DVD discs and printer cartridges can also be thrown into E-cycler bins. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO PUT THESE ITEMS IN THE TRASH!

Donation Dash

Every May, the Office of Sustainability and the Waste Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) host Donation Dash, a collaborative event designed to minimize landfill-bound waste generated during the move-out week. Donation and waste separation stations are set up to assist residents in sorting reusable items, recycling, and compost from landfill waste. Local charities also participate in this event to collect any reusable items that residents no longer need or want when moving out of their room. This annual event keeps over 25,000 pounds of waste from the landfill every year.

Donation Dash not only diverts waste from the landfill, but also encourages participants to rethink our consumer, throw-away culture. This event also offers hands-on learning opportunities that help students take responsibility for the campus’ waste flow and make a positive contribution to the quality of our campus environment. By educating residents and the campus community that we are living on a finite planet with limited resources, it is possible to encourage active participation in practicing zero waste principles.

E-mail if you are interested in volunteering at Donation Dash.

CFL Bulb Exchange

Residents have the ability to exchange any incandescent light bulb for a compact florescent light bulb for free. Housing will then properly dispose of any incandescent and broken CFLs for the residents.

Energy Campaign

Every year our Resident Sustainability Advisor (RSA) conducts an Energy Competition to determine which residence hall community can reduce their energy use the most. The top three communities are awarded prizes.


Housing has a 350 kW cogeneration plant, which is powered by a natural gas burning engine.  Depending upon electricity consumption, the cogen provides electricity for the Jolly Giant Commons (JGC) building as well as two living areas, Canyon and Cypress.  During long-term outages, the Hill can be also be powered by the cogen plant.  Creekview Apartments and Suites receive electricity from PG&E and are not on the cogeneration grid.

The cogen engine operates similarly to the engine in your car.  Water is circulated throughout the engine to keep it cool.  This process creates hot water that is used to pre-heat the building mechanical systems.

When the electricity output from cogen is greater than the energy usage of the three building complexes, the excess electricity is sent to the main campus facilities on the campus grid.  During times when energy use exceeds the output from the cogen, Housing uses energy from main campus.

The cogeneration plant saves energy through the utilization of hot water for building mechanical system preheating as well as providing backup power during instances when PG&E power is out.  Operating the cogen plant also provides cost savings over purchasing electricity directly from PG&E.

Cleaning Products

Housing's custodial services use Hillyard Green Select™ Products.  These cleaning products are formulated to lessen their impact on the Custodial Staff and Residents as well as the environment by replacing key ingredients with environmentally preferred ones.  Hillyard Green Select™ products achieve a higher standard of cleaning performance for environmentally preferred products.

Office Products

When office supplies are purchased we do our best to purchase items that are recycled or made from post consumer waste. 

Residence Life Staff Shirts

All residence life staff shirts are purchased from a company that sells sweat-free cotton shirts.

You can have wheels when you want them with Zipcar's car-sharing program. There are five cars available on campus, 24/7, to be reserved by the hour or day. Zipcar is car sharing, an alternative to car rental and car ownership that gives you the freedom to take a car when you want it, and put it back when you’re done. This program makes it easy to get off campus whenever you need to while avoiding the hassles and expense of owning a car and finding parking on campus.  For more information go to


Looking for a ride home for the holidays? Looking to carpool locally or long distance? Zimride is an online ridesharing service that connects drivers and passengers for local or long-distance trips. It’s a great way to meet people with shared interests, save money on gas and parking, and reduce your carbon footprint. For more information go to