Students sitting on steps outside high school

No matter how old you are, autumn has a back-to-school feeling about it. And if you really are settling in to a new school year – whether as a university student or a parent of a younger child – the beginning of the school year is a great time to make changes on campus. To honor 52 years of action inspired by Earth Day, Earth911 is presenting 52 Actions for the Earth. Each week through Earth Day 2023, we will share an action you can take to invest in the Earth. This week, you can invest in the Earth by making your school a more sustainable place.

Earth Action: Green your campus – even if you’re not a student


MobilizeU is the campus arm of The program aims to create an international network of university students and administrators who make a difference on their campuses and set an example for the rest of the higher education community to follow. Find out if your university is part of their green campus network, and if it is, join their efforts. If it isn’t, become a student organizer yourself and take a MobilizeU action like hosting a teach-in or advocating for plant-based meals on campus. MobilizeU has resources to help students plan Earth Day events like climate strikes; convince professors in every discipline to dedicate one class to climate change; and mobilize students to register and use their vote to address the climate crisis. Sign up for the MobilizeU newsletter to get resources, opportunities, and tips for making the most impact.

Campus Clubs

If MobilizeU isn’t your jam, find out what other environmental groups are active at your university. Many of the big environmental nonprofits, like Audubon or the Sierra Student Coalition of the Sierra Club, have campus chapters. There are even more student-led environmental clubs that have their own locally focused initiatives. Student-led environmental campaigns have helped colleges reduce or eliminate their use of pesticides, start campus-wide composting programs, and have informed classmates on how to live more sustainably on campus.

If You’re Not a Student

If your school days are behind you, you can still make a difference on campus. Contact your alma mater – high school or college – to see what environmental clubs and initiatives they’re working on. Your workplace may be able to make in-kind donations of resources they need. University and high school student groups often could benefit from extra volunteers to staff their events and work parties. And of course, cash is always appreciated.

If you’re a parent, you can become a partner to help green your child’s school. Parents have a lot of influence on classroom supplies and can also help by organizing events and fundraisers. Get the kids involved by helping to establish a school green team (or supporting an existing one). It’s never too early to start your child’s environmental education, so if your kids aren’t school-aged yet, consider choosing a nature-based preschool to start them on a greener path through life.

By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.