Students think green for dorm sustainability competition

Elise Resh, first-year pre-nursing major, does her part to conserve energy by using her heater and cooler as little as possible. Photo credit: Alisa Thorsen

After a tiring day of school, Megan Moran would walk into her Lassen Hall dorm room, flip on her light switch and turn on the heater. After a long shower and half a load of laundry later, Moran would be ready to call it a night and leave her desk lamp on for her roommate.

“I had no idea how much energy I was wasting,” said Moran, an undeclared first-year. “It was unclear to me until the sustainability challenge.”

From Feb. 16 to March 8, the Shasta and Lassen dorms will be competing in the Wildcat Energy Challenge put on by the Institute for Sustainable Development.

According to University Housing and Food Services, there are more than 1500 students living on campus this year. The goal of the competition is reduce Chico State’s energy consumption by a considerable amount.

Up until the Wildcat Energy Challenge, many students like Moran were unaware of situations that can waste energy. The competition has led to an effort to save energy and a goal to win the challenge, she said.

Marissa Mulcaire, first-year liberal studies major, is making some changes to her lifestyle in order to conserve energy in Shasta Hall, she said.

“I have been trying to leave the lights off when it’s light outside,” Mulcaire said “Seeing everyone work together trying to save electricity and win the competition is exciting.”

Elise Resh, first-year pre-nursing major, believes that conserving energy is important, but feels that some students are being too extreme in the situation, she said.

“I don’t use my heater or cooler and leave the lights off when I can,” Resh said. “But it was too much when someone turned off the lights in the bathroom when I was using it.”

In order to provide students and faculty with ideas on how to save energy, the Institute for Sustainable Development has provided a list of tips. Although these are being implemented by first-year students living in the dorms, all students and staff at Chico State can incorporate these habits into their lives. Some of these include:

  • Turning off lights and using natural light.
  • Turning TVs and computers off after use.
  • Sharing a refrigerator with roommates and/or friends.
  • Unplugging appliances that are not being used.
  • Only washing full loads of laundry.
  • Taking shorter showers to save hot water.
  • Turning off water while brushing teeth.
  • Studying in the study room or other public places to reduce numbers of rooms with lights on.

While competition may spark the inner challenger in many, students have discussed taking the conservation to the next level.

Michael Sunia, first-year construction management major, said he is excited about the chance to go green and stick to it.

“It helps everyone save,” Sunia said. “After this competition, I will definitely be more mindful of conservation skills.”

The Institute for Sustainable Development has set a precedent for Chico State and wishes to continue the spirit of conservation.

“It is possible to save an abundance of energy even if you are not part of a competition,” Moran said. “So we all need to do our part.”

Alisa Thorsen can be reached at [email protected] or @alisathorsen on Twitter.