WAUKESHA, WIS.— During October 2011, students who live in Carroll University housing engaged in a four-week competition to conserve electricity and water in the residence halls. Students in the Steele and Swarthout complex were champions of the Green Wars.
Senior Emily Groves is a Community Coordinator for Carroll’s apartments and houses. She said Residence Life wanted to develop a program that had elements of social justice and fit with this year’s Water theme. “We thought it would be fun to have a challenge to conserve water and energy,” she said.
The kick-off was blackout programming in all 13 of the university’s residences, with about 400 participants. Students were encouraged to turn out their lights, get outside and join activities that required little or no energy, from tie-dying T-shirts to roasting marshmallows to playing lawn games.
Senior Jennifer Prill, Community Coordinator for Steele and Swarthout halls, encouraged her residents’ participation in blackout activities, distributed pamphlets with 30 ways to go green, posted reminders by light switches, sinks and laundry machines, and relied on her staff of resident assistants to maintain the excitement.
She said, “There are a lot of little things that can be done to save energy, water, electricity, and, in general, be more green. You don't have to overhaul your entire lifestyle in order to participate in energy-efficient measures. Minor changes can have a major impact.”
To announce results of the Green Wars competition, Paul Van de Sand from Franklin Energy in Port Washington was invited to campus on Nov. 10. He also gave a presentation with strategies for continued conservation, including purchasing energy-efficient appliances, setting appropriate temperatures on freezers and refrigerators, ensuring oven doors seal tightly and regulating household humidity to feel warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
“These tips and tricks will be especially helpful when we’re living on our own after graduation,” Groves said.
“Though the program has ended, I do continue to turn lights off when I leave a room or pass by common areas in the complex that aren't in use,” Prill said. “I paid closer attention to those practices during the Green Wars and they have now become habits.”
Carroll University is engaged in a yearlong exploration of WATER: the essential element of life on earth, an interdisciplinary-themed series that will explore our relationships with water on personal, regional and global levels. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the Carroll community will examine how water informs cultural, environmental, spiritual, economic and political issues. For more information, visit www.carrollu.edu/water/.