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What I Wish I’d Known Before I Moved Into a Dorm

2012 June 27

Rosemarie Stephens-Booker

By: Rosemarie Stephens-Booker

Summer is here, and for many families this is a time of preparation as their children get ready to head to college in the fall. Several of my co-workers are in the thick of this planning process, and hearing their stories has led me to reflect on my own journey into college life.

Eight years ago I spent my last summer in the house I grew up in. I was amazed at how quickly the time passed between graduation day and packing the car to leave for college.

But was I ready?

Of course, my neighbors, friends and family tried to prepare me for those sleepless nights in the library, endless hours in the biology and chemistry labs, and the very real freshman 15. But, no one warned me that my entire summer would be filled with shopping trips for those essential college dorm room “must haves.” I remember shopping for the best compact refrigerator, laptop or desktop computer, the multi-colored light fixtures for my room, and most importantly…my first television. I thought about how certain purchases would look with the décor of my soon-to-be new home, and my roommate and I talked about what size television we should purchase. I also knew that I wanted to find a good compact refrigerator. But despite all of this planning, I never thought to look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Did you know products like those listed above make up a significant part of the energy used in the average college residence hall?  At that time in my life, I didn’t even know that most the electronics I bought were available in an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR labeled model.

I have since learned that my purchasing decisions can have a positive impact in the fight against climate change. By choosing an ENERGY STAR qualified computer or TV, I help reduce my college’s energy bills and help prevent the release of harmful carbon pollution resulting from the burning of fossils fuels used to generate electricity. If every TV, DVD player and home theater system sold this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would prevent more than 3 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the annual emissions of more than 300,000 cars.

Today, the little blue ENERGY STAR label can be seen across more than 65 different product categories including lighting, appliances, and electronics. So, don’t be like me — look for the ENERGY STAR!

Connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, and at to learn more ways to save energy, help your college-age loved ones not blow a fuse in the dormitory, and help save the environment.

Rosemarie Stephens-Booker begin her journey with the  ENERGY STAR Program as an EPA intern, and worked on the 2007 “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign.  After completing college she continued to support the ENERGY STAR Program in various roles, including traveling with the ENERGY STAR exhibit house, supporting the Green the Capitol initiative with qualified vending machines, appliance marketing, consumer education and appliance recycling initiatives. She is an avid theatre lover and a professional classical vocalist.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Lina-EPA permalink*
    June 27, 2012

    Great blog! Excellent tips!

  2. June 27, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s definitely worthwhile to educate teens about the importance of choosing energy efficient and environment-friendly appliances–it’s best to start instilling these things while they’re at that age and it will help them make better choices in the future.

  3. June 27, 2012

    Very helpful.


  4. Greg permalink
    June 28, 2012

    Now I wish I knew if that space heater I gave you was ENERGY STAR labeled.

  5. Bryan permalink
    April 10, 2013

    When I first got to my dorm Octo Lights had donated these really cool fluorescent light covers. I looked them up and although it was not an energy saver, it did reduce the harsh fluorescent light.

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