Have you heard about the Wells Fargo Community? It’s a great online forum that brings students, parents, college counselors, and financial advisors together so they can share their knowledge, advice, and experiences.
It doesn’t matter what point you’re at in the process—you can find all sorts of relevant tips and conversations about saving for college, finding the right college, choosing a major, or getting ready to join the “real world” after college. It’s an easy and convenient way to get information, and no paper is exchanged. That means it’s not only efficient, but environmentally friendly … no more glossy brochures in the mail!
Today I’d like to introduce Billy Butler—a Wells Fargo online banking customer, member of WellsFargoCommunity.com and incoming freshman at University of California Santa Cruz—and Nathan Coles—vice president with Wells Fargo Digital Channels Group. Billy will share what influenced his college selection, while Nathan will offer tips to help parents reduce paper from the financing process. (—SR)
I chose UC Santa Cruz because it is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly campuses in the nation. UC Santa Cruz reduces waste through composting and, by so doing, diverts 50 tons of food scraps per month from the landfill and turns it into beneficial nutrients for the 25-acre organic farm on campus. The produce from the farm is used in the dining halls throughout campus, which feature Meatless Mondays, Beefless Thursdays, and Farm Fridays as a way to minimize the school’s carbon footprint.
It’s estimated that 20 percent of all produce served on campus is organic, and of that 65 percent comes from local farms. In 2008, all plastic trays were removed from the school’s dining hall, which reduced cleaning-water usage by 1,000,000 gallons per year.
I like that there are water bottle filling stations positioned throughout the campus so kids don’t need to use disposable plastic. And all of the information, including billing, is done through an online portal, eliminating all paper in what normally is a very paper-intensive process.
Billy was among a handful of teens across the United States who was invited to perform this past summer at The Kennedy Center as part of the organization’s “What’s Going On NOW” competition, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s album that focused on issues of the day, including war, race relations and the environment. You can watch Billy performing his original piece titled “Californian Summers” that resulted in his being named one of The Kennedy Center’s 2012 Brave New Voices.
While many students focus on the “green” attributes of a college’s campus and curriculum, parents are often focused on how they will pay for their child’s education. But the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive—the process of financing education has become much more environmentally friendly and there are easy steps parents can take to “green” the process.
For example, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is available online—reducing the need to fill out and mail in multiple pages of hard copy forms—and provides instant access to application status. Similarly, most colleges and student loan lenders offer online access so you can check account information, make payments, review statements and update personal information without unnecessary use of paper. As well, parents usually can opt for paperless statements, which are not only more environmentally friendly but also more secure.
The volume of paper removed from the process by parents conducting research and transactions online can have a significant impact on the environment. It is these types of small actions that can lead to big effects in the end.
Try WellsFargoCommunity.com if you haven’t already; I think you will agree it’s an informative and eco-friendly college planning resource.
We encourage you to join the conversation by telling us how you have helped to “green” the college selection process! As a student, what environmentally friendly attributes are important to you? As a parent, how are you working to minimize your footprint throughout your child’s college years?