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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

IU Energy Challenge promotes green awareness

By turning off their lights, taking shorter showers or choosing the stairs over the elevator, students can take part in the IU Energy Challenge.

IU’s 2015 Fall Energy Challenge kicked off Monday, Oct. 12, and will run until Monday, Nov. 9. Academic buildings, residence halls, apartment housing complexes and greek houses all compete against one another in an attempt to save the most energy throughout the course of the challenge.

Every week, a utilities team will compare each building’s water and electric usage to the building’s average usage. The buildings that reduce their energy by the highest percentage win the competition.

“(The challenge is important) to make people aware of energy and water use and how they may play 
a role in conservation with their own behaviors,” said Bill Brown, IU director of sustainability.

After starting as a competition between residence halls, this challenge has grown since it began in 2008, said Shelly Salo, utilities conservation intern at the IU Office of Sustainability.

It is important that IU has this energy challenge, Salo said.

“By this point, I think it’s important that we have one because we are the biggest competition in the entire country,” Salo said. “It’s important to be a positive leader in a time that sustainability is overlooked sometimes.”

When Salo took charge of the Energy Challenge, she said her focus became the residence halls, since those residents are required to take part in the challenge.

“I’m focusing more on the people who have to participate and making it a more positive experience for them,” Salo said.

Salo said she wants students to become more aware about conservation.

“I just want people to get interested in how they can influence the world around them and to spread awareness about conservation in general,” Salo said.

Salo said her main goal of this specific challenge is to change the “I’m just one person, so I’m not going to make a difference” mindset.

“And changing that around to prove that if we engage the entire campus, we can do something really big together for sustainability,” Salo said.

Brown also said the goal is making more students aware about sustainability and how it is something in which everyone can take part.

“(The goal is) creating a culture that values conservation,” Brown said. “Creating interest in investigating what else can be done. (Creating) energy and water savings that can be spent on more exciting things, like educating students.”

As a way to promote the challenge, the Office of Sustainability is using the hashtag #iuenergychallenge. This challenge requires participants to take pictures of themselves doing certain sustainable activities, which can be found on the IU Energy Challenge website.

Once students take these pictures, they can either post them to the IU Energy Challenge Facebook page or tweet them to @HoosierEC using the hash tag #iuenergychallenge.

Students receive one point for each picture. These points can then be added up to redeem gift cards.

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