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Residents compete in sustainability challenge

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Thandi Ware
Assistant Arts Editor

Students living in the University’s four dorms are competing to see who can save the most energy during a six-week carbon footprint reduction challenge.

Sponsored by the Sustainable Campus Consortium, the challenge is simple: Whichever dorm save the most energy above 10 percent of its previous electricity consumption between Feb.1 and March 11, will win commemorative T-shirts and a pizza party.

The dorms’ energy use levels are being tracked by a specialty software called Green Revolving Investment Tracking System, or GRITS, which Christine Broussard, co-chair of the Sustainable Campus Consortium and biology professor, explained allows institutions to track their energy and water usage.

“With (this) tool, we can now have an energy challenge,” Broussard said. “In the past we didn’t really have a way to measure.”

The GRITS software will collect data from the dorms during the challenge period.

The dorms are split into nine competing groups with Oaks A, B and C as one group and Oaks D and E as another. Stu Han, Brandt, Oaks F and each floor in Vista are their own groups.

Vista resident and senior psychology major Megan Wammack said she is trying to get residents to do their part.

“My residents are doing the little things to save energy like turning off the lights and television when they aren’t using them,” Wammack said.

Broussard agreed that these methods, along with unplugging chargers and cables, turning off the computer when not in use and putting the thermostat at a reasonable level will help as well.

Vista resident assistant and senior biology major Marina Youngblood said a lot of her residents are pushing themselves to be more sustainable, and one is trying to live a life without producing any waste.

“They were already trying to be sustainable,” Youngblood said.

Junior theater major Steven Forns, another Vista RA said he is trying to reinforce the importance of sustainability by talking about it frequently.

“If I talk about it enough, then they’ll do something,” Forns said.

The challenge’s goal is not to measure overall energy use but rather to compare the use of that specific dorm to last year’s levels.

This makes it fair for Vista, which has air conditioning and elevators, to compete against Brandt, which has neither.

Broussard said the main goal is to maintain an energy reduction the following year and over time decrease the amount of energy that people are using.

“Once people are aware that they can do something about their energy usage, they keep doing it,” Broussard said.

The Sustainable Campus Consortium is spreading information by printing fliers and getting RAs to talk to their residents about making a impact on not only La Verne, but the Earth.

Broussard said it is still too early to calculate the exact changes in data.

Thandi Ware can be reached at thandiwe.ware@laverne.edu.

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