Walking through the halls of an Ohio University residence hall in the next few weeks, students may find that the lights are dimmer and trash cans are emptier. Halls like this are full of students motivated to save energy and secure a trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
Since 2001, Ohio University's Office of Sustainability has sponsored Residence Challege, a seven-week competition between all the residence halls on OU's campus. Students are encouraged to reduce their energy consumption by turning off lights in the hallways, mods and rooms and using heat only when necessary.
At the end of every week, the Office of Sustainability puts out a report showing how much many pounds of carbon each residence hall has saved and what the current hall rankings are. Energy savings for each hall are computed using baselines that are found by taking the average amount of electricity consumption over the past three years. For every pound of carbon saved, each hall earns a certain number of tickets to Cedar Point. At the end of the competition, the top three halls with the greatest energy savings will be awarded tickets for an all-expenses paid trip to Cedar Point.
The Office of Sustainability offers many fun alternatives to using electricity, such as candle-lit dining hall dinners and solar-heated hot chocolate.
According to Outlook
magazine, a publication by Ohio University, the Residence Challenge has saved the university over $70,000 during its existence in addition to the tons of carbon saved.
Photo: Office of Sustainability, Ohio University