Sustainability and COVID-19: Resources

May 20, 2020

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we've compiled some resources to help navigate the stress and anxiety that you may be experiencing. Thanks to the Sustainability Staff Ambassadors for contributing to this resource guide.

Access the latest University updates, guidance and policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


trout lily flower
Nicole Bergman, Manager of the Fung Global Fellows Program found this Trout Lily on a forest walk

Spending time in nature and getting one's hands dirty helps one feel more peaceful and grateful, and research suggests time in nature can improve everything from mood to academic performance. Make sure to maintain social distancing guidelines even when outdoors and be safe.

  • Start a garden. Princeton researchers found that gardening at home had a similar effect on people’s emotional well-being (or happiness) as biking, walking or dining out. Did you know you can also re-grow vegetables from scraps?
  • Find Hiking Trails near you, (try AllTrails to check the length, elevation change, and comments on trails) to stay fit, get outdoors, and maintain physical distance from others. 
  • Try an app like iNaturalist to identify new species.
  • Take a walk and pick up litter. Use gloves and/or wash your hands after. 
  • Learn to identify & remove invasive species.
  • Paint or draw outdoors, or do some nature photography. 






Cleaning can keep you well, busy, and relaxed. Decluttering and organizing can help keep you calm long after you’re done. Protect yourself and your family.  

Cleaning for disinfecting virus protection:

  • Turn off the tap while washing your hands for 20 seconds, rather than leaving it running.
  • Dilute household bleach for cleaning: 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. 
  • Alcohol solutions: Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
  • EPA-registered household disinfectants which are expected to be effective against COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

Green Cleaning:

  • DIY Green Cleaners Recipes: make your own furniture polish, deodorizers, and floor cleaners for spring cleaning! However, if cleaning to disinfect, follow the guidelines above.
  • Repurpose newspaper to clean glass, mirrors, and reflective surfaces for a streak free shine.
  • Make rags from old well worn clothes, towels and fabrics to reduce your need for paper towels. 


watercolor bird card
Emily Lawrence, Administrative Assistant, in the Computer Science Department has been creating watercolor cards

Self care is an important part of dealing with stress, anxiety and grief. Here are some simple steps you can take to help take care of yourself and cope with the difficult emotions that awareness and action can cause. 






patched jeans with sewn heart

Student group Mend shares tips on clothing repair and reducing textile waste on their Instagram

Take on projects to help you feel accomplished, purposeful, fulfilled, and the sense of confidence that comes from gaining new skills and achieving goals.


Princeton University departments offer additional resources.

This page was adapted from UMD's Sustainable Distancing Toolkit