Student leaders have brought the world’s largest energy and water reduction competition for colleges to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Campus Conservation Nationals began on April 6, and students are encouraged to participate by reducing their energy usage for three weeks.
This spring is the second time UWSP has competed in the national competition, although there has been a long tradition of energy competitions on campus. The competition is a result of Residential Living, the Office of Sustainability and the Student Government Association efforts.
Electricity data from this year’s competition will determine which residence hall and academic buildings most effectively reduced energy usage. Data will also be used to rank the university against UW-Whitewater, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay.
“The idea is to have everyone do these small actions and record the changes on a campus-wide level,” said Alex Thomas, SGA’s environmental and sustainability affairs committee chairman.
Thomas and his associates are hoping to reach students and make people think more critically about the way their choices can make an impact.
“This is a really good example of how small actions can make a big change,” Thomas said.
Simone LaMarche is a student data support specialist for the Office of Sustainability and will submit data to the competition website. She said that building services has installed energy-monitoring equipment within 39 buildings on campus which collected baseline data and will continue monitoring throughout the competition.
Cate Lucas, Residential Living green associate, said the majority of campus buildings saw a decrease in energy consumption during last year’s competition, and green advocates will encourage competition in the dorms this year.
“I think individuals together can have a massive impact,” Lucas said. “It’s a step toward adhering to our university’s mission statement.”
Steven Macherey, undeclared transfer student, said he makes an effort to decrease his energy consumption, though he doesn’t live in the dorms. Simple things like power strips and reusable coffee cups, Macherey said, help reduce his overall consumption.
“I keep all the non-essentials on one power strip,” Macherey said. “I also didn’t turn on the heat as much as I could’ve this winter.”
Macherey said he thinks sustainability and energy awareness are apparent at UWSP, and he is glad to see the competition taking place.
“I’m happy to see things like this,” Macherey said. “It’s such a conscious campus, but we could always do more.”