Sustainable Living

At Bates, we are committed to fostering healthy, inclusive, and sustainable residential student communities. This page was created through a collaborative partnership between the Office of Residence Life & Health Education and the student-led EcoReps. We invite you to explore the resources below and join us in building a healthier, safer, and more ecologically just community.

Clubs and Organizations On Campus

Get involved on campus with one of our many student-led clubs and organizations. From tending to the Bates Garden to exploring the wider wilds of Maine, there are plenty of ways to explore the natural world and help preserve it for future generations.

Trash, Recycling, and Compost Bins

Trash and Recycling: Separate bins for trash and recyclables can be found in all student residences on campus. We use single-stream recycling, which means you do not need to separate recyclable materials by type. However, it is important that recyclable materials be relatively clean and that non-recyclable materials go into the proper receptacles. To avoid wish-cycling, only recycle items if you are confident they are recyclable.

Composting: Some residence halls and academic spaces also offer compost stations where you can dispose of certain foods to be reused at local farms. Compost bin locations include:

  • Commons
  • The Den
  • Pettengill Hall
  • Gillespie Hall
  • Chu Hall
  • Kalperis Hall
  • Hedge Hall
  • Roger Williams Hall
  • The Ronj

Read On

Residential Programs

The Residence Life Student Staff facilitates dozens of sustainability-themed programs each semester to help support students in their work toward a greener campus. These programs often include opportunities to explore, learn, and actively engage with sustainability work at Bates and in the local Lewiston/Auburn community.

Bates also hosts a variety of programs and events for all of campus to participate in. Some of those are included in the list below.

Sustainable Living at Bates

Everyday Tips and Tricks

Setting Your Thermostat

  • Close your window to help conserve heat and to avoid pipe bursts in winter
  • Set your thermostat to the lowest temperature that is still comfortable
  • Lower your thermostat even more when you plan to be away for extended periods

Using Electronic Devices

  • Turn off power strips when they are not in use
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Open blinds for additional light

While Doing Your Laundry

  • Reduce the amount of laundry you need to do by:
    • Hanging up clothes for better drying and airing out
    • Avoid buying clothing that requires special care
    • Add one extra wear to each article or outfit
  • Wash using cold water to save energy
  • Try using non-toxic detergents
  • Try avoiding pods and detergents that can shed microplastics into the water

Sustainable Move-In

  • Coordinate with your roommate(s) on what appliances you are bringing
  • Buy secondhand or wait to buy until you’re in Maine, then buy locally
  • Try reusable for move-in or save cardboard boxes to reuse for move-out
  • Use clothes or leftover newspaper to cushion valuables

Buying Locally, Buying Second-Hand

  • Bates Pop-up Thrift Store
  • CleanSweep
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Loaves & Fishes Hidden Treasures in Lewiston
  • Goodwill in Auburn
  • Salvation Army in Lewiston
  • Visit thrift stores in Portland

Greener Transportation Options

  • Walk, bike, skateboard, scooter, etc. to places whenever you can
  • Carpool to stores, airports, other nearby cities, etc.
  • Use the Bobcat Express shuttle
  • Use a Bates Bike to get around campus quickly
  • Use coach buses when traveling to Portland or Boston
    • The Concord Coach has a Bates Campus stop

Making Your Next Purchase a Sustainable Selection

  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Bring reusable dishes and silverware from home or buy it second hand
  • Make detergent or use a brand committed to sustainable practices
  • Stainless Steel Mugs are given to you during your first year

More Resources

Bates Sustainability Websites