Housing & Residential Life kicks off Live Green Games competition

by Emily Kossila, sustainability education coordinator, Housing & Residential Life

Living on campus doesn’t always mean you’re living green. As the Housing & Residential Life (HRL) sustainability education coordinator, I’m excited that HRL has teamed up with It All Adds Up to create the Live Green Games competition. This brand new, year-long sustainability program challenges students in the residence halls to take steps each month in an effort to be more sustainable.

The University of Minnesota spends more than $40 million per year on electricity and fossil fuels for campus buildings and recovers about 41 percent of all recyclables — both numbers that we can improve. We need to do our part to reduce the University’s environmental footprint as much as possible. The Live Green Games will encourage residents to do their part in reducing that environmental footprint. Sometimes it can be easy to forget about sustainability when you’ve got to study for class, socialize, work a campus job, etc.; but as the only full-time campus residents, those of us living in residence halls utilize campus resources more often than any other portion of the University community. While we may not see a monthly bill for electricity, trash, water or gas, these costs are incorporated into our room and board.

Each resident that completes the monthly Live Green Games activity will earn points for their residence hall. The monthly winning hall will receive 500 bonus points, host the Live Green Games traveling trophy the next month and claim bragging rights. The hall with the most points at the end of the school year will earn a catered Sustainable Study Break during finals week! Food, refreshments and door prizes will be provided as the winners wrap up their school year.

In September residents were encouraged to sign up for the Green Certification program, a three-tiered, online tool that empowers residents to make sustainable changes in their lives. Bailey Hall, where I live, won the first month’s challenge. October’s challenge is to have residents complete recycling area checklists for their residence hall, and bonus points can be earned for visiting the Reuse Program warehouse on Thursdays.

Here are the rest of the monthly themes for 2012-13: November — Plug Load/Energy Management, December — Moving Out Sustainably, February — Water Conservation, March — Conservation Madness competition and April — Sustainable Transportation.

Look for program opportunities to learn more about each month’s theme. If we don’t learn how to live more sustainably, it’s our future that will be lost.

Good luck and remember to live green!