University joins Campus Conservation Challenge


Students for Sustainability give students a t-shirt in exchange for pledging to reduce their energy consumption.

St. Edward’s University will track the electrical consumption of 10 buildings, both residential and academic, in an attempt to reduce the school’s energy consumption by 5 percent as a part of the Campus Conservation Challenge. 

The challenge aims to elevate awareness of energy use to reduce carbon emissions and is part of the school’s larger effort to help the environment by using resources more responsibly. A water bottle refilling station will be installed in the building that consumes the least electricity from Feb. 3-24.

According to St. Edward’s, the following academic buildings will compete: John Books Williams Natural Sciences Center – North, Trustee, Doyle, Holy Cross and Fleck halls. Residential buildings are also included: East, Teresa, Dujarie and Basil Moreau halls, the residential village and Casa.

With the help of the Office of Sustainability and the Students for Sustainability club, yesterday St. Edward’s entered “the largest electricity and water reduction competition for colleges and universities in the world,” according to the competition’s website.

“Contests like this bring out the competitive edge in students,” said Jillian Mitchell, vice president of Students for Sustainability. “It is exciting to see them collectively working hard to reduce their carbon footprints.”

The club kicked off the first day of the university’s participation in the competition with a launch party on Tuesday in Hunt dining hall, where t-shirts, coffee and lightning bolt-shaped cookies were given to students for free.

Students for Sustainability members assisted students in pledging to reduce their energy consumption in exchange for a t-shirt with the club’s slogan for the competition “Turn off for watt?” — a play on the Lil’ Jon song “Turn Down for What.” Designed by Harrison Hadland, president of Students for Sustainability, freshman member Kasey Liehr and the St. Edward’s marketing team, the shirt features bright colors and a graphic light switch held in place by screws shaped like Hilltopper hooves.

St. Edward’s commitment to saving energy is not a new installment. The school’s mission to be energy efficient began long ago and its endeavors to be environmentally conscious intensified when the Office of Sustainability was formed two years ago by Cristina Bordin.

In fact, last year St. Edward’s placed third nationally in the “Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge,” a competition that promotes energy conservation through small initiatives that collectively produce profound results.

Although this is not the first time St. Edward’s has competed in a national conservation competition, it is the first time a physical prize has been introduced.

“Not only is the filling station a great incentive, it will prevent hundreds of thousands of water bottles from being thrown away, reducing our impact on the world,” Mitchell said.

Although the competition focuses primarily on the importance of energy conservation in regard to its effect on the environment, it is just as much of an effort to save money by shrinking the university’s utility bill.

“I don’t know if many people realize that we have to pay money for the electricity we use. If we can reduce the amount of energy we use, that money could be going somewhere else, toward buying computers or other equipment we need,” Liehr said.

Bordin mentioned that it is in students’ best interest to learn to conserve energy now so that it will be helpful later on when electricity and water bills become their own responsibility.

“This competition is about bringing awareness and educating our students,” Bordin said. “It’s not just about decreasing electrical consumption on campus. (Students) are being educated on how (they) can be most efficient with their own budgets.”

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