Sustainability at the University of Maryland

What Can You Do?

Getting Started:

The Small Footprint Pledge is a way for all UMD students, faculty, and staff to make a commitment to minimze their environmental impact by adopting new green habits. Members of the UMD community can select any number of items from the pledge action list – just one action, or even all twelve – and pledge to adopt that action for a week, for a semester, or for a whole year. It's easy to make one change for a finite period of time, and this pledge may serve as a stepping stone for long term or permanent changes in personal behavior. Through tracking pledges, we can calculate the total impact of all Small Footprint Pledges and demonstrate the collective effect of our individual actions. Click here to take the pledge.

Here is the single most important rule for everyone to live by:


Americans consume more energy and resources per person than any other population on Earth. In fact, if everyone on Earth consumed as much as the average American, humanity would require four more Earths just to harvest for resources.

Wondering how to do your part? It isn’t hard – it just requires us to think about how and when we use energy and materials needlessly. Paying attention to your habits and making small changes can add up to real energy, material, and even financial savings! When everyone makes the change, we can completely alter our collective impact on our planet. Browse your tips or view our high impact tips below.

Select a link below to explore the tips that are suited to you.

15 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Energy Use

Flip the Switch

• Make use of natural day lighting

• Turn off lights when not in use

Harness Your Human Energy

• Burn calories, not electricity, and take the stairs!

• If you are able, open the door manually

Let It Sleep

• Use computer and monitor power management

• Don’t use a screen saver

• When buying a computer, look for the ENERGY STAR label

• Turn down the brightness setting on your monitor

• Close unused applications and turn off your monitor when you’re not using it

• Turn off peripherals such as printers, scanners, and speakers when not in use

Keep It Comfortable

• Dress for the season and keep a sweater or jacket at your desk for when you feel cold

• If you are uncomfortable and your space is not within the range of 68-78°F for a sustained period of time, contact the building manager or maintenance staff.

Unplug it, Centralize it

• Centralize devices by plugging them into a power strip

• Unplug devices and appliances that you seldom use

• Reduce your use at night, over weekends, and holidays by UNPLUGGING!

Tips for: