Session Recap >> Campus-wide Energy Challenge: Success through Unique Strategies and Diverse Collaborations
Encouraging student groups on campus to take the lead on student outreach helped Allegheny College (PA) reduce dorm energy consumption by 12 percent during its annual Energy Challenge last October. With the $5,739 saved in energy bills, the campus is installing a six-panel solar array, said Sustainability Coordinator Kelly Boulton, who presented alongside Environmental Science Professor Eric Pallant.
The college formed a student sustainability coordinating committee as a way to bring together all student groups at once instead of having "17 different conversations," said Boulton. Some of the student group approaches to student outreach that came out of this committee include:
• Stargazing hosted by the Astronomy Club as alternative to watching TV
• Bicycle-powered smoothies
• Glow-in-the-dark condoms passed out as part of a "Do it in the Dark" campaign
• Dinner in the Dark
• Acoustic open mic night
Pallant also pointed out that the challenge takes a "fun fury" approach to entice and incentivize the campus to reduce its energy consumption. "We were not going to make people feel guilty. There was no finger wagging," he said. In addition to mock bills and challenge progress updates, the college hosted a vampire movie screening that gave away free popcorn to those students that unplugged the "vampires" in their dorm room and showed up with dirty jeans, proving that they stayed away from a washing machine.
For this year's challenge, taking place this month, challenge organizers reached beyond the "usual suspects" who are eager to help out each year and focused on building relationships with new student groups to enlarge the outreach circle.
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