Welcome to our Resident Assistant Sustainability Resources page. We just added some possible film discussion questions for each film listed in the In-Hall Event Resources section. This page is a work in progress, but please feel free to browse the current resources and check back again soon.

Knock & Talk ResourcesIn-Hall Event ResourcesBulletin Board Resources

Knock & Talk Resources



Changing how we use energy can save money, help keep tuition rates from increasing, and improve the health of our planet and ourselves. We can make a difference by simply turning off electronics and lights when not in use, and using energy efficient products. Saving energy is important because we burn fossil fuels for power, which threatens the health of our planet and ourselves through climate change, smog, and other air pollutants.  We use most of our energy in buildings through heating and cooling; however, plugged in electronics also contribute to our consumption.

Sample Questions

Do you have a TV, stereo, gaming system or other electronic in your room that displays a little light when not on?  Did you know the light means it is still drawing electricity?  (See phantom load below.)

Have you heard of Energy Star certifications for electronics?  Do you know what to look for when trying to find an Energy Star electronic?

Can you describe how well you think your heating and cooling system in your room is working? Are your windows drafty? (See work order below.)


  • A phantom load refers to energy being used by an electronic item when plugged in, even though the item is not turned on. Usually electronics displaying a small light when the machine is off are still pulling substantial energy. Common culprits include TVs, video gaming consoles, and stereos. All these items should be unplugged when not in use. Using a surge strip makes turning things off easy.
  • Many cell phones chargers still use energy when plugged in even though the phone is not attached.
  • When purchasing new electronics, please buy Energy Star certified electronics.
  • One of the quickest ways heated or cooled air escapes the room is through windows and doors that do not seal well. If you have issues with this, please turn in a work order and perhaps try using blinds or curtains to allow the sun in when you want it. curtail the flow.
  • Observable effects from climate change include: increase in droughts and intensity of heat waves; more severe storms, blizzards, and flooding; increase in forest fires; changes in plant and animal ranges; increase in spread of diseases; and loss of sea ice and glaciers, among others.


  • Email the Office of Sustainability to check out energy meters to test electronics to see their energy use and if they have a phantom load (see the Energy In-Hall Event).
  • NASA provides resources that explain the evidence, causes, and effects of climate change in a consumable manner.



Giving back to the community you live in remains a vital component to creating a flourishing future for all.  These rewarding experiences shape who you are, and provide an opportunity to:

  • Gain experience in the real world
  • Help others in need
  • Know you are making a difference
  • Discover things that interest you
  • Gain skills that employers are looking for
  • Meet new people

Sample Questions

What are some special interests that you would like to pursue while here at Auburn?

Are you looking for ways to get involved outside of class? Have you considered joining a student organization or seeking out an internship?


Opportunities are available year round, such as:

  • Volunteering in the community
  • Joining a student organization
  • Building leadership skills
  • Securing an internship

Some opportunities require an application process. Applications open August 1st for:

  • Freshman Leadership Programs
  • Leadership Small Groups
  • UPC Committee

Opportunities to engage in sustainability activities can be found through the many student groups, forming an Adopt-A-Spot group or joining on your own, or getting an internship in the Office of Sustainability, Waste Reduction & Recycling, Academic Sustainability Programs, or the Auburn Technical Assistance Center.


  • Involvement Ambassadors provide one-on-one consultations with students seeking assistance in finding opportunities to get involved. Either drop-in or email involve@auburn.edu for an appointment.
  • Every Wednesday organizations table at O-Days on the concourse, and give students a chance to meet members and join a variety of student organizations.
  • IMPACT coordinates volunteering opportunities at Auburn University.
  • Sustainability-focused groups and opportunities can be found through the Office of Sustainability.



Local food supports you, the local economy, and the environment. Local food tends to be fresher, higher in nutrients, more flavorful, and less energy-intensive, largely because it is picked at its prime and not shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your plate.  Auburn University offers both local and organic food, as well as options for people with dietary restrictions, such as allergen and vegetarian needs.

Sample Questions

What kinds of foods do you like / need to eat?

Can I let you know some of the places on campus where you can find fresh, locally-sourced food options?

Have you heard about or been to the new Terrell Market?


  • Special dietary needs? The Wellness Kitchen near South Donahue features choices for folks with allergies or other special dietary needs.
  • Want to avoid traveling to the grocery store for fresh produce? Visit the all-new Terrell Market in the Hill to buy fresh produce, , food in bulk, and freshly grown greens.
  • Counting calories? The Tiger Zone in the Village now features the Fit Station where you can purchase either a 500 or 600 calorie meal that is balanced nutritionally.
  • Plains-to-Plate, located in Lupton Hall, features locally-sourced food and has numerous healthy options.


  • Tiger Dining provides great resources for students needing to find food that fits their needs.
  • The dietician at Campus Rec and Wellness counsels individuals on their specific dietary needs.
  • The Office of Sustainability provides an overview of sustainable food sources in the Auburn-Opelika area.

Getting Around


Vehicles powered by gas or diesel fuel directly contribute to climate change.  You help curb harmful greenhouse gasses and other air pollutants when you take public transit, carpool, bike, or walk. Biking and walking can also help you fit exercise in your day, while getting you to your destination.  Luckily you don’t really need a car at Auburn, due to the many options available for getting where you need to go.

Sample Questions

How do you get around town?

Where else would you like to be able to go? There may be an option other than Tiger Transit that can get you there.

Are you aware of other transit options such as: Campus Security Shuttle, GOTCHA ride (free taxi- you pay the tip), and the Lee-Russell Public Transit (door to door service, reservation required)?

Did you know that Auburn has a rental car available through Enterprise CarShare?

Have you heard the War Eagle Bike Share is coming Fall 2015?

Did you know you need to register your bike through Parking Services? It’s free.


  • The Enterprise CarShare allows students to reserve and rent a car even though they are under the age of 25. All rentals include gas and insurance.
  • Tiger Transit shuttles students on Friday nights alternating between Tiger Town and Walmart. Their transloc app shows the location of the buses in real time.
  • War Eagle Bike Share is scheduled to arrive on campus Fall of 2015. This program allows you to check out a bike for a period of 3 hours at a time. If you want to keep the bike longer than 3 hours there is a small fee.. Bikes come with locks, but don’t forget your helmet.


Health & Wellness


Regular exercise and eating right help keep your body healthy, reduce stress, and sharpen your mind. Our mental and emotional health also affects our ability to thrive in society. Taking care of yourself allows you to give to others and your community.

Sample Questions

Are you aware of the resources available on campus for individual and group counseling?

Did you know the Campus Rec and Wellness Center has resources such as a dietitian, personal trainers, and CPR classes?

What type of outdoor activities interests you? Hiking? Boating? Biking?


  • If you are concerned about another’s or your own alcohol and drug use contact Health Promotion and Wellness Services. They also have resources for interpersonal violence, depression and suicide prevention, and sexual health and wellness.
  • Auburn Outdoors at the Campus Rec and Wellness Center offers half day to extended trips and clinics that allow you to experience paddling, biking, hiking and more. They also offer equipment rentals.




Recycling keeps more waste out of the landfills, giving them a longer usable life and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also benefits the environment by conserving energy, preserving natural resources, and reducing air and ground pollution. To further support recycling, one can purchase items made of recycled materials.

Sample Questions

How have your recycling efforts been going? Did you find the bags provided to you for carrying your recyclables out?

Do you have any questions about what can be recycled and where to take it on campus?

Would you like me to show you how to find out if your plastic material is a #1 or a #2 plastic?


  • Residents have to carry their recycling out to the recycling bins located outside the residence halls near the trash bins.
  • The number of the plastic is typically located on the bottom of the container, tiny in size, and inside the recycling symbol.
  • Auburn University recycles the following:
  • Plastics #1 and #2
  • Tin and aluminum cans
  • Mixed paper
  • Cardboard (flattened)


  • The Waste Reduction and Recycling Department is responsible for recycling on campus. Visit their website to see what can be recycled at Auburn University.
  • The City of Auburn recycles on Donahue Street and accepts additional items, including glass.



Water provides the basis for all life, and we must conserve and protect it. Only 2.5 % of the water on the Earth is fresh water. Of that, 70% is frozen in the icecaps, and most of the remainder exists as soil moisture or in aquifers not accessible to human use. That leaves only 1% of the fresh water available for direct human use.  Even though the Southeast has more rainfall every year than other regions of the United States, it is still important to conserve water to ensure an available supply, healthy ecosystems, and to conserve the energy it takes to purify and transport it to our faucets.

Sample Questions

Do your faucets drip or does your toilet run?

What WEGL water stations do you use to refill your water bottles? Do you have any suggestions for where additional ones might be installed?

Do you know how to dispose of expired medications?


  • Taking shorter showers, turning the water off while shaving/brushing, and reporting dripping faucets and running toilets conserve water.
  • Keeping cleaners that contain harsh chemicals and expired medications out of the sewage system protects water.


Work Orders


Residents maintain their rooms by requesting a work order for problem areas. They need to be aware that certain things are problems, such as a running toilet, a dripping faucet, a thermostat that doesn’t work, or a window that is not sealing properly.

Sample Questions

Have you noticed anything in your room that requires maintenance, such as your heater/ air conditioner, windows, dripping water, or running  toilet?

Did you know that you are able to submit a work order to housing when maintenance needs to be done?

Did you know that you may submit a work order or contact an RA for maintenance that needs to be addressed in the common areas of the Residence Hall?


  • Facilities Management monitors water online. The system reports usage and alerts them to any sudden increases in water use.
  • 2014 a resident had a running toilet that used 500 gallons in only 1 hour.


  • Visit the Housing and Residence Life website to fill out an online maintenance work order. To request emergency repairs during regular working hours you may also call 334-844-4477.  For emergency repairs after hours or on the weekends, you may call 334-844-HELP.  If you have issues connecting to the internet or email, call the OIT help desk at 334-844-4944.

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In-Hall Event Resources



The electricity Auburn University purchases consist of 70% fossil fuels.  Burning fossil fuels contributes to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change. Thankfully, individual behavior changes can add up to a substantial savings of energy. During energy reduction competitions at Auburn University, over half of the residence halls reduced energy use by more than 10% with some halls reducing usage up to 38%! Making residents aware of the impacts of energy consumption and how they can cut back on energy use can be fun and engaging.

Engagement Options


The scavenger hunt brings awareness to the amount of energy electronics use when plugged into the wall, whether they are on or off. The Office of Sustainability loans out small meters that you plug your electronic item into, and then it plugs into the wall. It measures the amount of money spent and greenhouse gases emitted per month and year for that electronic. Participants measure a variety of items, and can be challenged to find particular energy users, such as: who can find an item that uses the most energy; a phone charger that uses energy even though the phone is not even plugged in; how much do the gaming consoles use when off and when on?


Pedal a bike to turn on a light! The energy bike connects the energy residents make through pedaling to a display of lightbulbs. Three different switches on the display turn on three different kinds of lightbulbs: incandescent, CFLs (compact florescent lamp), and LEDs (light-emitting diode). Riders feel the stark difference between the energy it takes to turn on the different types of bulbs. Realize the difference that even one lightbulb can make! Reserve the energy bike through the Office of Sustainability.


Gather residents together for a fun and engaging night of trivia! Use the Energy Trivia PowerPoint to present the questions and answers. A set of trivia buzzers are available through the Office of Sustainability. To reserve the buzzers contact the Office of Sustainability.


There are many videos related to energy and climate. The trick is finding ones that leave one with the tools to make a difference and inspire action. Watch the trailers of the videos below to find one that interests your group and then host a discussion. Here are some possible film discussion questions for each film to get you started.

Actions to Take

Residents will want to know what the top actions they can take to reduce their energy use. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Make small adjustments to start saving energy now! This includes turning off the lights, setting the room temperature to rely less on the air conditioner/heater, turning off computers, utilizing power saving settings, etc.
  • Purchase energy efficient products from companies that include environmental responsibility in their missions. Search for producers that make their products in ways that require less energy in the process of production and transportation.
  • Hold a discussion forum and gather signatures of support for installing energy saving devices in the residence halls such as energy efficient appliances and switches with occupancy sensors, and share it with management.
  • Bike or walk to and around campus. Drive less. Make fewer trips, carpool with friends, or ride Tiger Transit.
  • Wash clothes on COLD. This reduces energy needed to wash a load by 80%, and cleans clothes just as effectively.
  • Change light bulbs from incandescent to compact florescent lights , or better yet, LED bulbs, which are the most efficient and have a longer lifespan.
  • Unplug appliances such as TVs, computers,laptops, microwaves, etc. when not in use. These items may continue to draw energy, even when they are not being used.
  • Spread the word,share what you know, and lead by example.



Food-related events can be fun, tasty, and educational. What we put into our mouths not only affects our own health, but also affects the health of society, the local economy, and the environment. Factors to think about include:

  • Where and how was your food grown?
  • What is the impact on the local economy?
  • How does the production of it affect farmer workers and the environment?
  • What are some of the sustainability issues related to this type of food?

In addition to the event ideas below, please keep in mind the Office of Sustainability interns and staff are also available to speak at events.

Engagement Options


There are a number of no-bake cookie recipes on the internet. Get residents together to make cookies and talk about the connection between energy and food and the importance of conserving energy. You could also talk about purchasing local and organic ingredients when possible, and what Fair Trade chocolate is.


Prepare a taste test for residents. Are residents wasting money on purchasing bottled water? Have them take a taste test with WEGL water, tap water, and bottled water. Have residents discovered where to buy locally grown produce? Have them taste the difference between different kinds of produce from the grocery store or from a local producer. The difference in flavor will amaze them! Try tomatoes and carrots, and whatever else you can find locally in season.


Did you know that Campus Recreation and Wellness has a registered dietitian and nutritionists on staff? The dietitian assists with grocery shopping and meal planning, weight management, food allergies and intolerances, eating disorder recovery, and much more.


Everyone loves ice cream! Fill the ice cream ball with ingredients, sit in a circle, and roll the ball from person to person. Toss it! Bowl with it! Will make great ice cream and also encourage conversation between residents. You could also read labels from other ice cream containers. What is actually in the ice cream, any mystery ingredients? You could also use the activity to discuss the connections between food and energy.  If there is interest in this activity the Office of Sustainability will purchase ice cream balls that can be checked out by RAs. Ingredients are not included.


What do you think of when you hear the word vegan? Most people may turn up their nose or laugh off the idea of eating vegan.  While simply going vegan won’t save the world, eating a little less meat can greatly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. For this event, create a couple of vegan dishes to show your residents how tasty it can be. This event can lead to discussions on how eating just a little less meat conserves water, reduces our carbon footprint, and also makes us more sustainable. Check out these great Vegan Meals.


This is a great event to get residents from your hall and another hall to get to know each other over some good food. To do this, team up with an RA from another building and have a sustainable cook off! Have your residents prepare some of their favorite foods using sustainable ingredients that you could buy locally such as from the farmer’s market or the new Terrell Market. In the end, have all the residents come together to taste what each hall has created.


Gather residents together for a fun and engaging night of trivia! Use the Food Trivia PowerPoint to present the questions and answers. A set of trivia buzzers are available through the Office of Sustainability. To reserve the buzzers contact the Office of Sustainability.


There are so many great food-related movies! You can find some online, some at the Office of Sustainability, and others can be rented. Watch the trailers of the videos below to find one that interests your group and then host a discussion. Here are some possible film discussion questions for each film to get you started.

Actions to Take

  • Shop at the NEW Terrell Market for fresh, local produce and bulk items.
  • Install the “Dirty Dozen” app on your phone to see what foods you should only purchase organic.
  • Install the “Seafood Finder” app from the Marine Stewardship Council to find fish and seafood that is both healthy for you and for fish populations.
  • Read the labels when you buy food. Buy food with ingredients that you recognize and know are healthy.
  • Buy produce when it is in season locally. Not sure what’s in season? Go to the farmer’s market!
  • Purchase foods from local farmers and vendors.
  • Avoid purchasing bottled water.



Let these great documentaries lead you right into an engaging conversation. Watch the trailers of the videos below to find one that interests your group and then host a discussion. Here are some possible film discussion questions for each film to get you started.

Movie Options

Actions to Take

Each movie encourages its own topical actions.

Office of Sustainability Guest Speaker


The Office of Sustainability staff and student interns are available to come give interactive talks in your residence hall covering a range of topics. Presentations include both background content on the issue, but more importantly, information on what you can do to have a positive impact.  Please see below for topic ideas, but feel free to reach out if you, or your residents, have a specific topic in mind that’s not on our list.

Topics for Conversation


What is it, what causes it, and what are the consequences? What can you do to make the greatest positive difference to reduce the causes of climate change? Learn about actions you can take as an individual and the role you play in society.


Did you know there are no regulations on the safety of body products in the United States of America? In fact, many products sold here contain ingredients that are illegal to put in body products sold in many European countries. Identify dangerous ingredients in your products and discover phone apps that guide you to purchase safe products.


How can I get involved with sustainability on campus and make a difference? Come learn about sustainability –related student organizations, volunteer opportunities, internship opportunities, upcoming events, and more.


The purchases we make have a huge impact on our community and the environment. How can you make a positive impact? What do we need to consider as a responsible shopper? Learn about certifications, labeling, and phone apps that can guide you to responsible purchasing decisions at the supermarket.


With so many choices to get around Auburn, discover how to use the various forms of transportation to get where you need to go. Learn about the War Eagle Bike Share program, Gotcha Ride, Enterprise CarShare, Tiger Transit, Lee-Russell County Transit, and more.

Actions to Take

Each presentation encourages different action items related to the topic covered.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, we hear it all the time!  It’s all about keeping waste out of landfills and incinerators, and for maximum effect should be done in that order. First, you reduce the amount of trash and recycling you create through purchasing decisions.  Do you really need it, or can you borrow or rent it? What is it packaged in? Can you purchase that same item somewhere else without all the packaging? Next, reuse what you can by finding a new purpose for things. Finally, recycle all the packaging and materials you can after you are done with it.  It’s important to know what you can and can’t recycle because keeping trash out of the recycling bins avoids contamination. So have fun with the activities below, and learn about what you can recycle here at Auburn.

Engagement Options



Start by explaining what can and cannot be recycled at Auburn University. Divide into relay teams and compete to see which team recycles more accurately. Each team starts with an equal assortment of items that are, or are not, recyclable at Auburn, and has their own recycling and waste bins at the far end of the room. Players take turns running and sorting materials into the appropriate bins. After the relay, go to the bins and talk about your findings. Is everything in the right spot? What do people find confusing?


Have fun playing the bean bag toss game while learning what is recyclable and what is not. RAs email the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department to check out their Bean Bag Toss game. Similar to corn hole, the bags you toss have pictures of things that are or are not recyclable (a can, a banana peel, etc). One board is labeled recycling and the other waste.  You must toss the bags into the correct holes to score points.


Watch the trailers of the videos below to find one that interests your group and then host a discussion. Here are some possible film discussion questions for each film to get you started.

Actions to Take

  • Consider packaging when purchasing. For example: Do you really need corn on the cob wrapped in plastic when it already comes wrapped in husks? Can the packaging be recycled?
  • A conscious consumer thinks about the need, quality, and sourcing of their products before purchasing. See the Sustainable Student Packing Guide for details.
  • Donate items that are usable, but you no longer, need to charity.
  • Visit the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department page to see what can and can’t be recycled on campus.
  • Fill your backpack with essentials that will help you prevent waste while on the go: reusable utensils, reusable shopping bag, and a water bottle to name a few.

Story of Stuff


The cartoon shorts below each tell an important story. It all started with the 20-minute ‘Story of Stuff’, released in 2007, which tells the story of how we make, use, and throw away stuff. Creator Annie Leonard discovered there was high demand for honest conversations about the impacts of our culture on people and the planet. This gave way to the other stories listed below. Watch the trailers of the videos below to find one that interests your residents and then host a discussion. Here are some possible film discussion questions for each film to get you started.

Film Options (all online)

Actions to Take



Challenge the other halls in your neighborhood to a trivia competition! Check out the quiz buzzers from the Office of Sustainability to host your own trivia night with questions covering a variety of sustainability topics. Please follow the links below to view and download trivia PowerPoint files on the following topics: food and water, energy, society, and overall sustainability.

Engagement Details

  • The office has buzzers for up to 20 teams.
  • Trivia questions and answers are both given in the PowerPoint files.
  • After the trivia competition, teams challenge each other to take action on something that would make a positive difference.

Trivia PowerPoint Files

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Bulletin Board Resources


Society Poster           Be Well - Be You              Engagement Poster



Good Food Choices           Make A Difference_Aug 2015              Nature Vertical



Recycling DOs_DONTs             Compass Vertical_2015                  AU Sustainable Student


Wellbeing Poster             Transportation_Sept 2015                  Muir Quote_Oct 2015_Final


Engagement_Nov 2015        Year in Review_Dec 2015                Energy_Feb_2016


Leadership_March 2016

Municipal Waste at Auburn Infographic Image                  Graphic of 10 green tailgating tips.


Image of the October 2016 Poster of the Month on Citizenship     Graphic of Auburn University's Efforts on Climate Change               Graphic of Green Gift Giving Tips


Graphic of Sustainable Supermarket Shopping Tips          Photo of computer with the quote: "Like the IT and quality megatrends, sustainability will touch every function, every business line, every employee." - Dan Esty              Graphic of the sustainable features of the Miller Gorrie Center, Recreation & Wellness Center, and the Office of Information Technology Building.


Map of campus sustainable stormwater management practice locations

       Graphic of Sustainability in Dining at Auburn University              


Graphic of Auburn University water use figures.



Image featuring this quote by Ani Difranco: "I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap."                   Image of Poster with Alabama 2018 Voting Dates


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