Living Sustainably While in The Sustainable Innovation MBA Program

This post was written by Laura Berguer ’20. Connect with Laura on LinkedIn

Living as a graduate student in Burlington, Vt. has many benefits that, if you’re not from the region, you wouldn’t know about until you’ve spent some time here. As sustainably minded students of this program, we understand the power of consumer choice and voting with your wallet. However, living sustainably can seem like a daunting lifestyle choice.

Photo by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash

Well, here is your guide to sustainable living in Burlington with some of my favorite places that won’t make your wallet beg for mercy. Support local businesses and do some good while saving some green! First and foremost, get comfy walking shoes and a bicycle (see below) ’cause this place is great for walking and biking!

Clothing & Outdoor Gear

  • Old Gold – Funky spot right of Church Street is great for clothing and Halloween costumes (the good kind, not the plastic ones). You can purchase as well as sell your clothing and costumes. You’ll find cowboy boots galore, 60s inspired coats to make undergrad fashionistas jealous, and much more of the Burlington 90s-meets-the-60s style. 151 Cherry Street, Burlington M-Sat 10am-6pm
  • Style Encore – In need of a new business suit? How about a stylish bag for your upcoming interview? This place has high-quality and designer consignments clothing and accessories for women that are at a fraction of traditional retail prices! Grab a ride on your local bus route or carpool to Williston for this gem! 31 Tafts Corners Shopping Center, Williston M-Sun 10am-8pm
  • Outdoor Gear Exchange – head to downstairs to get to the consignment section and be prepared for many great finds on clothing and gear! Check out their website if you’re looking to sell and make some extra $ for snacks at the Harv (the Harvest Cafe, see below — Ed.). This local business is your one-stop shop for all things outdoors. Stop in at the beginning of the school year for great deals on new bikes and at the end of the year for students selling their used ones. 37 Church Street, Burlington M-Th 10am-7pm, Fr-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm

Household Goods

  • Goodwill – This college classic stands the test of time. Moving into a partially or unfurnished place? Check out this spot towards the end of the school year, especially the South Burlington location, for lots of great finds from students moving out and the community. Reuse, upcycle, and clean them up with local Seventh Generation cleaning products. There are two locations, South Burlington and Williston. 1080 Shelburne Road, South Burlington M-Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 10am-7pm and 64 Harvest Lane, Suite 30, Williston M-F 9am-9pm, Sun 10am-7pm


  • UVM CATS Shuttle – This free bus will get you around campus and student housing and has a tracking system. Check out the website for more details.
  • Green Mountain Transit – Free for students! Bring your student ID and get rides all over the Burlington area and northwestern Vermont. More details here.
  • Tip #1: Try to get a place to live that is within walking or biking distance to school. With long days in class, group projects, and winter conditions you’ll appreciate the ability to dip home quickly to recuperate.
  • Tip #2: If you have a car in Burlington and park on the street, plan ahead for the winter when you can’t park on the street because of the dreaded Parking Bans. When it dumps snow, you have to move your car, or it will be towed (nobody’s got $ or time for that) but that does mean powder for skiing (hooray)!
  • Tip #3: Depending on what route you’re on, plan your bus route ahead of time. Some of the lines are notorious for running very late or leaving early!

Discounts & Cheap Entertainment

  • Bicycle Benefits – pay a one-time $5 and reap the financial rewards plus a killer body and zero emissions! Place the sticker on your helmet and show it off at the register to get discounts all over town. Pick one up at the Co-op or at any participating store.
  • UVM Medical Center Harvest Café – while not technically a discount, the food here is cheap. You’ll appreciate it when you’re exhausted and didn’t have time to pack lunch before a 12-hour day on campus. Bring your personal Tupperware and reduce your waste! Located across the green from the business school, on the first floor of the medical center.
  • Student Ski Pass – Calling all Powder Hounds! Check out this link for great pre-season passes that are sure to help make those cold wintery days totally worth it! Send it! Be sure to carpool for some great bonding and reduced emissions.
  • Merrill’s Roxy Cinema – Movie Buffs! Check out this spot near downtown for tickets as low as $7 matinee on the weekends with your Student ID!  222 College St, Burlington
  • *Tip #4: Downtown comes alive with sidewalk sales and discounts to welcome new students during orientation week for undergrads. Take advantage of these deals by getting to stores early while parents and undergrads are having breakfast.

Personal Care

  • Student Health Services & Gym – UVM does an incredible job providing free services that address your physical, spiritual, and mental health needs. Take advantage of all their services from therapists to support groups, gym, intramural sports, and rock-climbing wall.
  • Men’s Haircuts – Recommended by Chuck [Schnitzlein, our Academic Director and Finance professor] himself! This spot is fast and cheap while providing great service. No appointments needed! 113 College St, Burlington, M-F 7:30am-5:30pm, Sat 8am-4:30pm

Gadue’s Dry Cleaning – family owned, sustainable, and with a whopping 6 locations in Chittenden County this is the best place to go for all your dry-cleaning needs. All locations are open M-F 7am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm (3pm Essex Junction, South Burlington, & Shelburne)

Grocery Shopping

  • Farmer’s Market – the best for fresh food and produce that supports local business and farms. Try to go in the last hour for maybe not the best selection, but with more room for bargaining on what’s left. It’s all about supply and demand! There’s a summer market and the winter market is on campus in the Davis Center.
  • City Market Onion River Co-op – while pricey, the $15 annual membership gets you the weekly deals which will pay for the fee quickly. You can combine those discounted items with your Bicycle Benefits discount too! Members can receive a 7% discount for 2 hours of volunteer time and a 12% discount for 4 hours of volunteer time. There are two locations: 82 S. Winooski Ave. Downtown Burlington, M-Sun 7am-11pm; and 207 Flynn Ave., Burlington South End M-Sun 7am-11pm
  • Tip #5: Consider switching to a vegan, vegetarian, or localvore (only eats local) diet. This can help reduce your impact on the environment and save you money. Meat is expensive and has many detrimental environmental effects. But if you can’t give up meat, try to only purchase meat from local sustainable farms. Luckily in Burlington this is easy!