GW residence halls are competing against each other to conserve the most water and electricity.
For more than two months, George Washington University students have been competing against one another in this year’s GW Eco-Challenge. And with less than a month to go, the Hall on Virginia Avenue is in first place.
The fifth annual Eco-Challenge, which began Aug. 31 and runs to Nov. 30, is a conservation competition between residence halls and townhouses to see who can save the most electricity and water. This year, 30 residence halls and townhouses are participating. Overall, students have reduced their water usage more than their electricity consumption. GW’s Office of Sustainability is encouraging all students to unplug electronics, lamps and chargers before leaving their residence hall over Thanksgiving break.
"Every GW person who lives in a building has an impact on the carbon and water footprint of that building. In our residence halls, our homes, our classrooms and our offices, we each can improve how we use and live in that building,” said Meghan Chapple-Brown, director of the Office of Sustainability. “Using less water when you wash your hands or unplugging your charger once the device is charged. These small actions add up to a big impact."
Eco-Challenge, which is an effort of the Division of Operations including Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability, is supported by eco-reps – students that lead their residence halls in the challenge. Tina Nam, a graduate student in the Health Services Management and Leadership Program in the School of Public Health and Health Services, is serving as an eco-rep in HOVA and encouraging her fellow students to conserve.
"Eco-Challenge is important because it promotes a lifestyle of sustainability by conserving electricity and water,” said Ms. Nam. “The educational information posted around the residence hall allows residents to become environmentally conscious of the decisions they make on a daily basis."
As a midpoint prize for reducing the most electricity and water, 10 students living in HOVA will be given a tour of Founding Farmers this week. While HOVA is the leader overall in the competition, West Hall has reduced the most water usage, and as their midpoint prize, 100 West Hall residents will receive free True2o reusable water bottles.
At the end of the challenge, the residence hall that reduces its water and electricity consumption the most will win a sustainable renovation or prize for their hall such as a water bottle filling station or an energy-efficient big-screen television. The prize will be determined in partnership with the winning residence hall.
“We're happy to see the students embracing Eco-Challenge again this year, and I look forward to the final results. I encourage all students to make a strong final push by unplugging for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Shannon Ross, stakeholder engagement coordinator in the Office of Sustainability.
GW students are also being encouraged to participate in another sustainability-themed challenge this semester. GW’s Planet Forward, a project of the Center for Innovative Media in the School of Media and Public Affairs, and the Office of Sustainability are holding a Campus Challenge and inviting undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and stuff to submit a video or essay that showcases their sustainability idea and describes why it’s unique and how it will impact the future.
Planet Forward, an online social network where creative and innovative ideas addressing global challenges are featured, discussed and evaluated, invites participation and opinion from policymakers, students, advocates and practitioners. Video submissions should be no more than one minute and 15 seconds while essay submissions should be no more than 300 words. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 11. The winning entry will receive a free one-year membership to Capital Bike Share.
“Since all sustainability is local, Planet Forward created this contest to make rock stars out of the brilliant and creative student innovators here at GW. Although we don’t have a football team, we know there are thousands of sharp competitors ready to do something to move the planet forward,” said Frank Sesno, creator of Planet Forward and SMPA director. “I encourage all students to show the campus and the entire planet how everyone can help create a more sustainable future.”
Students interested in serving as eco-reps and helping with RecycleMania and other sustainability projects in the spring can contact [email protected].