Dorms compete to save energy

Photo Illustration by Matt Hellman | Lariat Photographer
Photo Illustration by Matt Hellman | Lariat Photographer

By Leigh Ann Henry

The residence halls are competing in an energy conservation tournament that began on March 21 and ends May 1.

The competition consists of a running energy usage count as well as an educational game component. The games are organized in a tournament-like fashion to decide who competes against who the following week, and focus on teaching students about energy conservation.

Games include trivia via Facebook, quiz games and blackouts.

“We are excited to be doing something like this on campus and that students are involved in helping us to reduce our energy consumption,” Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator at Baylor, said.

The six-week competition is designed to encourage and educate the campus community on daily energy conservation.

“This is not a money saving effort as much as it is an educational effort,” Meghan Becker, assistant director for resident learning, first year programs and apartments, said.

The competition was developed as part of the energy awareness program Clare Paul, energy outreach manager at Aramark, said.

“Baylor energy madness is a fun way to involve students in energy conservation as well as a great start to creating a cultural change across campus. … I can’t wait to see who wins. I am also looking forward to involving all of the residence halls on campus in the fall,” Paul said in an email to the Lariat.

Four teams are competing in this year’s competition: North Village, Kokernot, Martin and both Russell dormitories, which are competing as one combined community.

The sustainability department has helped community living learning center and Aramark/Facility Services coordinate, Getterman said.

Aramark is an outsourced company that handles energy consumption for several colleges in the nation. Aramark introduced the idea of Baylor’s participation in an energy competition, Becker said.

The competition includes opportunities for student leadership — each team has one to two voluntary team captains. A few of the captains are community leaders as well.

The running totals for energy usage in each residence hall can be found online through the Facebook page “Baylor Energy Madness.”

Last week’s competing teams were Kokernot versus Martin and North Village versus Russell. The winners were Kokernot and North Village.

This week, Kokernot is competing with North Village, and Martin is pitted against Russell.

In addition to scores derived from energy usage in the residence halls, there are ways to earn bonus points for each team.

One of those ways is when hall members “like” and “become fans” of Facebook groups created to spread the conservation initiative, Becker said.

There are also weekly events that help the residence communities earn additional points for their hall. One of these bonus point activities was Dark Dorm.

Students in each hall were encouraged to turn off anything and everything they could to see how large of an energy reduction they could achieve.

The additional points awarded were 25 to Kokernot, 15 to Martin, 10 to North Village, and five to Russell, Paul said.

Because the number of residents in each dorm varies from 195 students in Kokernot to 477 students in Russell, the number of energy users on each team is being taken into account and properly recorded in the standings.

Thursday also offered a bonus point opportunity called Energy Jeopardy.

Each hall selected a contestant to answer questions relating to water and energy conservation in a game conducted Jeopardy-style.

Additional opportunities include a showing of “Kilowatt Ours” at 7:00 p.m. Thursday in Castellaw Communications Center 201.

Attendees earn points for their hall.

There will also be opportunities for points at Diadeloso by visiting the energy booth as well as going to the booth during Dr Pepper Hour the following week.

Other bonus point opportunities are listed on the energy zone competition website.

“The winning residence hall will receive a pizza party for everyone in the hall as well as a banner to hang in the hall lobby,” Paul said.

“We also will have various door prizes and drawings for the different bonus point events activities.”