“When it comes to saving electricity and water, everyone wins.” That’s the crux of a national “green” contest beginning this week, according to graduate assistant Rachel Montgomery, who is organizing student efforts to compete against colleges nationwide.
The Conservation Challenge Nationals run February 6-26. The goal, Montgomery says, is for students to save as much water and electricity as possible where they live. “Our student participation goal is 600. We’ve already exceeded that so we’re off to a great start.” After final registration on Monday, she says the real work of saving begins Tuesday.
The Challenge’s goal is for students to conserve 30-cents worth of combined electricity and water per-person-per-day. That translates to three kilowatt hours of electricity or 98 gallons of water. To put that in perspective, Montgomery says a 14-minute shower, on average, uses about 98 gallons of water. “So if shower time is cut in half each day and lights and appliance use is reduced, students will be on the right track to meet the contest goal.”
Those who registered received a complimentary kit containing, among other items, a waterproof watch to monitor shower length. Utility meters will be checked weekly to gauge progress, and the results will be posted via the College’s Moodle software. A Twitter account is already active, Montgomery says, “probably the most convenient way” to keep students in the loop on their energy savings.
The Challenge’s formal kickoff was Thursday, February 9, with a 5 p.m. keynote address in Sydnor Performance Hall by LC mathematics professor and green advocate Dr. Kevin Peterson. Evening activities included flashlight tag in the Dell.
After the national contest ends February 26, it will continue into April on the LC campus. “The College’s strategic plan calls for increased sustainability efforts in the coming years. The goal is for this event to become part of the campus culture for a long time to come. I’m glad to help play a part in establishing a new LC tradition,” Rachel says.
What began as an internship project for Montgomery has turned into a true labor of love. “The campus buy-in for this has been impressive. We’ve got great students and a lot of potential that I hope we can tap into in a meaningful way.”