shutterstock_179577842Here you are, a college student at an amazing university in an amazing state. Your generation is wise to the green game and often accounts for environmental issues when you make decisions. But being green isn't always easy, especially if you live off-campus.

Renting an apartment provides you with a rental history, which you’ll need after you graduate. Off-campus housing also affords you more freedom than you would get while living in the dorms. But how can you live off-campus and still be green when you have to commute to school? What steps can you take to minimize your footprint?

UCLA BruinLink, a newsletter for UCLA students and their parents, has a section dedicated to helping weigh and compare housing and commuting options. It is a solid site that also provides the following printable forms: roommate needed form, room in private home/room for service form, sample rental documents and sublet listing forms.

Off-Campus: Look Close to Travel Smart

Living away from campus doesn’t mean you have to live in the boondocks. That's exactly what you do not want to do. The closer you are to campus, the greener you can make your commute. So look for an apartment that will allow you to easily travel to and from your classes and school events. Perimeter homes are easy to find if you know where to look. Rent.com is a great resource for UCLA students, as the site covers the area thoroughly.

Vetted apartments on Rent.com have a badge next to the listing. You'll also want to search for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified apartments or apartments that embrace aspects of LEED-certification. You may have to make a few tradeoffs, but you should still be able to find a home that is compatible with your green lifestyle.

The Green Commute

Sustainability is important to the UC system, as demonstrated by the fact that the UC system recently became the first system in the U.S. to have 100 LEED-certified buildings. Since 2006, all new construction in the UC system has met LEED standards. Being a part of an organization that takes sustainability so seriously makes it much easier to make environmentally-friendly choices. The system makes sure to offer green(er) commuting options too.

The BruinGO! Transit Program

Like the rest of the UC system, UCLA has a proven commitment to sustainability and provides students with ample options to travel smarter.The BruinGO! Transit Program allows eligible UCLA students and staff to travel on several bus lines at a reduced cost. For $33 per quarter, students and staff can travel on any Santa Monica Big Blue Bus or Culver City Bus.