Today: Apr 21, 2024

Students partake in contest to save energy

 Stephany Kaufman — Staff Writer

Shutting off lights, watch­ing less TV, taking shorter showers, and hang-drying clothes are just some ways that Southern students can help their residence halls win the campus conservation competition and free sweat­shirts, according to Suzanne Huminski, science education and environmental studies professor.

The on-campus competi­tion—which began March 26 and spans until April 16—is also a part of the Campus Conservation Nationals. It’s a competition between 150 col­leges and universities across the nation to have the greatest reduction in energy use within a three-week period, according to, the Campus Conservation Nation­als website.

Huminski, who did the initial planning for the com­petition, said she brought the program to Southern’s campus to increase awareness of the importance of energy conservation.

“Reducing energy use 10 percent will save a little bit of money for the univer­sity, but [the competition] is mostly about the importance of conserving energy,” she said. “There are a lot of rea­sons reducing our fossil fuel use is important, ranging from

national security and reducing dependence on foreign oil, to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.”

According to Huminski, the energy reduction goal within the national competition was to save one million kilowatt hours of electricity—a goal that has already been surpassed.

“It has gone phenomenally across the nation and now it’s Southern’s turn to contribute to that,” she said.

Huminski said she hopes to see a reduction in South­ern’s energy use throughout the competition.

“Basically what we’re hoping overall is a 10 percent reduction in electricity use dur­ing the competition,” she said. “That’s what we thought would be a challenge but also very doable for students.”

Jennifer Petrillo, fresh­man liberal studies major, said she thinks the competition has motivated her to be more energy conscious.

“It makes me think more about turning lights off behind me and not to fall asleep with my television on, which I usu­ally do,” Petrillo said. “The competition also has a good incentive to it with the sweat­shirts and hoodies.”

Huminski said there are many ways in which students can participate in the energy conservation competition and help their residence hall win free sweatshirts. Sometime during the three-week span of the competition will be Earth Hour, an event that encour­ages students to help save the planet by turning off all elec­tricity in their room for one hour.

Students can also be an active part of the energy con­servation process by logging onto Southern’s own Cam­pus Conservation Nationals page, which can be accessed at From there, students can view Southern’s status in the national com­petition as well as the status of their residence halls. One can also choose to “click to commit” to certain energy conserving actions, such as using a desk lamp instead of an overhead light or tak­ing the stairs instead of the elevator.

Alex Fernandes, freshman psychology major living in Wilkinson Hall, said he likes the idea of the competition, but he feels that more needs to be done to inform students and get them involved.

“It’s definitely a good idea,” he said, “but it’s just that my hall director and the CCs haven’t really talked about it that much. I’ve seen a few signs scattered about the dorm but that’s about it. All I’ve seen happen really is that some people shut off the light in the common room and the utility room.”

Huminski said she wishes for the competition to encour­age students to become more aware of their energy use.

“I hope the contest shows that every action counts and every bit saved is really impor­tant,” she said, “and altogether it can make a big difference.”


1 Comment

  1. It is great to see you all raising awareness of energy issues and that you are tying the issue together into other political and environmental events.

    My daughter goes to Missouri University and their sustainability group bought these awesome clothes drying racks for their dorms. She then got me one for my birthday. I was very pleased.

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