Competition pits residence halls against one another to save energy

Emma Carew

The 11 residence halls on campus are full of energy.

But it’s not just the energy generated by students who are hard at work learning; it’s also the energy that powers coffeepots, laptops, gaming systems and other electronic devices.

This November, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and the Residential Housing Association are asking students to make small energy-saving changes in their lives for a monthlong energy efficiency competition among residence halls.

The research group’s Environmental Justice Task Force leader Jennifer Nguyen said the idea for the ResHall Wars was expanded from recycling wars on other campuses.

“I think it’s a big issue because energy consumption is at an all-time high,” she said. “We need to make sure that we are being efficient and conserving.”

Students can do little things throughout the month to conserve energy, such as turning off lights and computers when not in use or using warm/cold water for laundry.

The Environmental Task Force hopes to increase awareness on campus about energy efficiency through the competition, Nguyen said.

A prize yet to be determined will be awarded to the residence hall deemed the most energy-efficient throughout the month, she said.

First-year Bailey Hall resident Mellete Seretse said she liked the competition aspect.

It “puts a more fun twist to it,” she said.

The task force will look at the energy bills and comparing them with the past three years’ data, Nguyen said.

Some students expressed interest in helping eliminate energy waste in their halls.

First-year psychology student Laura Hoyme said she notices a lot of energy being wasted where she lives in Territorial Hall, such as lights in the showers being left on and water dripping.

“It’s cool that they’re trying to stop some of that,” she said.

First-year student Breanne Krogman said she thought it was a good idea but that she probably wouldn’t be making many huge changes to her daily routines.

“I wouldn’t consider myself an ‘energy waster,’ ” Krogman said.

Assistant Housing Director Susan Stubblefield said she hopes students participate in the competition but doesn’t want them to feel limited in their lifestyle.

She doesn’t want students to reduce using anything that may benefit their education, she said.