Go Green, Win Big
Kyle Florence


This year marks the third annual Residence Hall Energy Competition, an event in which the residence halls compete against one another for the greatest energy reduction per resident average throughout the month of February.

“Energy data is gathered from the November 2012 kwh Electric Usage and Outside Electrical kwh readings for each hall and compared to their hall’s February 2013 numbers,” said Residential Living Facility Designer, Cindy VonGnechten. “The hall that shows the greatest energy reduction per resident average during the month of February compared to their hall’s November 2012 base line wins.”

The winning hall will have $200.00 added to its budget, and five residents from that hall will also receive a tote filled with over $100-worth of eco-friendly gifts. VonGnechten also added that there will be many other opportunities for students to walk away with prizes throughout the month of February, including a weekly eco-trivia contest.

“Our main goal is to have students learn how to easily conserve energy in their daily lives and the value within it,” VonGnechten said.

Eric Chier, a resource management major and resident of Smith Hall, strongly supports the residence hall Energy Competition and all other green initiatives. Like VonGnechten, he also believes that tiny measures such as these can have powerful, long-lasting effects.

“It helps form the habit of recycling, so that when younger students do get houses of their own, they will know how to and hopefully want to recycle or at least use resources a little more sparingly,” Chier said. “These initiatives also have a great impact on how the school looks to the community and also set examples for other schools.”

GreenStory1.jpgAssistant Professor Robert Michitsch, who teaches courses in soil science and waste management at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, agrees that the residence hall Energy Competition and other green initiatives do an excellent job of educating students.

“These green initiatives are great for us all to take back in our own lives,” said Michitsch. “If I want to be warm and fuzzy and talk about the world and sustainability, then these are all steps towards that. I think that living this greener lifestyle is definitely the way we need to move forward.”

Lauren Wirsbinski, a resident of Hansen Hall, also spoke positively of the green initiatives currently underway across campus.

“I like that the residence halls offer green initiatives because it makes me feel like I’m doing my part and helping without having to change much in my sometimes hectic life,” Wirsbinski said.

VonGnechten urged students to participate because of “the positive monetary and global environmental impact that energy conservation has on all of us.”

“It is easy for the students to get involved –simply use less energy than they normally do,” said VonGnechten.

For more information on the residence halls Energy Competition or any other green initiatives taking place on campus, contact your hall’s CA or Green Advocate.

Tips for Energy Conservation

 Here are Sam’s best tips for energy conservation in the dorms:

-Use the sunlight as much as possible, then use community spaces if you need light at nighttime.

-Only use one source of light at a time in a room.

-Unplug all unused appliances when you don’t need them (microwave, phone charger, laptop, lamp, etc.)

-If there’s barely anything in the fridge, unplug it and store small things in the windowsill.

-Air-dry clothing using your windowsill, chairs, lofts, closets, dresser drawers, etc.

-Put on a sweater instead of cranking up the heat.

-Rely less on technology for amusement (TV., iPod, video games, computer.)