By Caitlyn Crenshaw–
Turn off the lights. The U of L Sustainability Council is encouraging all students and staff to conserve energy resources in an effort to create a more sustainable U of L. Campus Conservation Nationals, which includes over 150 campuses, is, “the first nationwide electricity reduction competition on university campuses,” according to Dr. Justin Mog, assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives.
“This competition is designed to empower the future generation of energy and environmental leaders,” said Mog. The competition is one aspect of the council’s programs promoting conservation and awareness.
In addition to the national competition, March 26 through April 15 marks “Bluegrass Unplugged,” U of L’s competition in its first conservation competition versus the University of Kentucky to reduce the amount of energy used in campus buildings. Mog said the goal is “to achieve the greatest possible energy reductions in 12 residence halls.”
The CCN competition occurs for several weeks. However, many of the council’s initiatives are completed year round to challenge the campus on a daily basis. Barbara Burns is a part of a team teaching a psychology course, “Mindfulness and sustainability.” The course focuses on “sustainability, energy conservation and the psychology of decision making and behavior change,” said Burns, the Sustainability Education & Research Committee Chair.
U of L housing is helping to lead awareness outside of the classroom. Taylor McGovern U’Sellis, residence life coordinator, said, “We want to raise awareness about how easy it is to reduce your impact on the environment by turning off a light or taking a shorter shower.”
Thursday, March 29 marks the Campus Conservation Nationals kick-off when the U of L RSO GRASS will be showing two documentaries about the “highly unsustainable nature of our current energy use.” The kickoff will be from 7:30 pm to 10 pm in the Chao Auditorium.
The competition hopes to promote not only awareness of energy conservation, but also action to create a more sustainable campus, state and nation. Mog said that “to save one gigawatt of electricity is enough to shut down a massive coal-fired power plant for four hours.”