By Madison Thompson–
Beginning Feb. 15, the U of L Sustainability Council is hosting a two week long event that challenges students to conserve energy and be eco-friendly. Known as Ecolympics, the event takes place through March 6 and is a battle between residence halls to reduce electricity use and trash production.
“Ecolympics is U of L’s largest annual effort to engage people on campus, especially residents, in the broader effort to improve campus sustainability by challenging them through friendly competition to take action in their daily lives,” said Justin Mog, an assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives.
The competition challenges students to be mindful of the environment. “The first step is often the hardest, but we want to encourage people to try new things that may seem small, but all add up,” Mog said.
Mog believes in taking small steps to help the world last a little longer. For example, rather than drive to work every single day, Mog rides his bike.
“There’s free parking right at the doorstep of my building, I don’t have to deal with finding a parking spot for my car and I’m saving the environment,” Mog said. He also air dries his clothes because running the dryer consumes more energy than necessary.
As a part of the Ecolympics, the residence hall that cuts out the most electricity use will win a catered dinner and a Green Renovation project for their hall. Individual prizes will be given to residents who reduce their energy footprint. The individual who wins the Ecolympics will receive a $400 bike shopping voucher.
One way for students to reduce energy use is to turn off and unplug lights, TVs and computers. Devices, chargers, lights and lamps all continue to consume energy even when they are not in use. Another tip is to skip the elevator ride.
Students should also avoid using the dryer. Instead of using the dryer, clothes can be air-dried on hangers. If using the dryer is a must, it is important to get in a full load of laundry rather than a partial load to help reduce the need for another load of laundry and another dryer cycle.
Taking shorter showers conserves water, and students really looking to be eco-friendly can take showers at the SRC. The showers in the SRC are powered and warmed with solar power.
To reduce waste production, reuse and refill when possible to reduce the amount of garbage being sent to the landfill. Water bottles can be refilled at the water fountains around campus. If there is no way to avoid disposing of something, students can easily recycle on campus.
“U of L’s amazingly easy, single-stream recycling system lets you recycle everything in the same bin: all types of plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass,” Mog said.
To enter the competition students should post photos of themselves taking eco-friendly action. Photo captions should include #ULecolympics2016 and @uoflsustainable and @ulh_inc to be entered to win.