Up for the Challenge?

Energy Challenge

A portion of the poster that placed in the top three of the Campus Conservation Nationals' educational-poster competition.

Dickinson’s Energy Challenge is back!

When the 2014 Energy Challenge kicks off its three-week run on March 17, the Dickinson community will again find itself looking for new ways to solve an old problem: wasted electricity.

Stemming from the college’s commitment to reaching carbon neutrality by 2020, the challenge will take many forms—from dinner in the dark and a residence hall reduction competition to a bonfire on Morgan Field and a campuswide awareness campaign.

Dickinsonian participation may include consolidating meeting spaces to attending energy-saving events with Eco-Reps to, of course, turning off computers and lights everywhere. And while these are all great ways to raise awareness, the good coming from the event doesn’t stop there.

“The competition ignites thinking of ways to conserve energy at the college,” says Lindsey Lyons, assistant director of the Center for Sustainability Education. “And there will be real energy savings. Financial too.”

During the 2012 challenge, for instance (data weren’t recorded for 2013’s awareness month), Dickinson saved approximately $1,615 per week in energy costs, so over that year’s four-week challenge, the college saved nearly $6,500. (If the behavioral changes adopted during the challenge stuck year round, these simple steps would have saved the college just under $84,000 that year.)

"I hope that students leave the challenge with a greater understanding of Dickinson's energy consumption and the knowledge that simple changes in behavior can greatly reduce our consumption," says Mackenze Burkhart '16, one of the Energy Challenge's organizers. "I want students to feel empowered, and this is a great opportunity to make a change and see the results." 

To increase student participation in the 2014 Energy Challenge, which is running under the theme “student emPOWERment,” 15 residence halls will be competing for cash prizes in three categories: greatest reduction in an electric-heated building, greatest reduction in non-electric-heated building and building with greatest participation. The overall campus data also will be used to compete in the Campus Conservation Nationals.

This year the challenge can be followed live through Dickinson’s Building Dashboard, where students can make their commitments and anyone interested can see real-time energy-usage data for 12 buildings and competition standings for the participating residence halls. 

Take part in this year’s Energy Challenge beginning March 17 with the following themes and events:

  • Week 1: Power Down (March 17, 6 p.m., Dinner in the Dark, Cafeteria)
  • Week 2: Unplug (March 29, 8 p.m., bonfire, Morgan Field)
  • Week 3: Go Outside (April 11, 6:30 p.m., finale event at Relay for Life, Kline Center) 

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Published Mar. 14, 2014