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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Organizations to freshmen: cut energy usage, get free prizes

Published: March 9, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Students for Environmental Action (SEA), the Campus Climate Challenge (CCC), the Energy Savings Program (ESP) and the Brandeis Environmental Sustainability Team (BEST) are sponsoring an event throughout the month of March to increase energy savings awareness. Do It in the Dark is a competition run in first-year residence halls with the mission to decrease energy usage and have each residence hall compete against the others in the process. The prize will be awarded at the end of March to one residence hall in each first-year quad, and will consists of a Lizzys ice cream party, Amazon gift certificates and other prizes as well.

Jamie Pottern '09, coordinator of the CCC, explained that the initiative was started as a way to increase awareness and promote energy-saving techniques to the larger Brandeis community. The halls will be monitored with energy gauges to compare decreasing energy usage. Pottern went on to explain that the competition is open to only first-years not only because it is best to start this sort of program with new Brandeis students, but also because first-year residence halls are all equipped with these meters. Many other buildings on campus lack the technology.

Cable Hall in North Quad and other first-year halls seemed darker as lights were turned out to increase the chance of winning the competition. Signs are on light switches in the hallways and bathrooms, and other advertisements were posted in order to inform the residents of the program. Spencer Rittner '10, an occupant of Cable, is excited about the educational aspects of the initiative. It a great way to build awareness, he said, especially about how much we waste energy.

Pottern explained that some popular energy-saving tactics include turning off lights when they are not needed, turning off computers and printers, taking shorter showers, and minimizing any other electronic usage. These methods not only save the university money, but also help promote a better environment as well. Energy is made by burning fossil fuels in order to operate generators. CCC and similar programs hope that their programs will help reduce harmful emissions and curtail the negative effects of those emissions.

Pottern stated that the program makes people more conscious about energy usage. She is also excited to be reaching first-years and believes that it is important that the competition highlights important environmental issues. This is a really crucial lesson especially for freshmen, Pottern explained, They are going to be here for four years.

The important thing isnt just saving energy, it's increasing awareness, commented Matt Kamm 09, If this helps people develop good habits relating to energy, thats something theyll take with them beyond Brandeis.

The contest will continue throughout the month and each dorm will be assessed individually for its conservation abilities. For more information about the competition or ways in which one can decrease energy usage, contact one of the coordinating organizations for more information. If you are a first-year and care about the environment, you can participate in the competition to get involved in energy saving at Brandeis. Rewards are not just environmental but include gift certificates and Lizzys ice cream as well.