CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Students Once Again Lead in Conservation Competition

Date: 05-29-2015

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico residence hall students once again were national leaders in a competition to conserve electricity.

The results of the 2015 Campus Conservation Nationals posted last week listed CSU, Chico with nine other schools as the leaders among 125 colleges and universities participating in the U.S. and Canada.

For three weeks during the spring semester, approximately 400 Shasta and Lassen Hall residents competed to reduce energy consumption compared to baseline energy use established earlier in the semester.

Fletcher Alexander, campus sustainability coordinator for CSU, Chico’s Institute for Sustainable Development, said the students beat the 24 percent energy reduction from last year by achieving a 26 percent reduction this year.

In addition to being in the top 10 nationally, CSU, Chico also took first place in the inaugural year of the CSU Conservation League. At the California Higher Ed Sustainability Conference this summer at San Francisco State, CSU, Chico staff and students will be awarded the CSU Conservation Trophy and a $1,000 stipend for energy efficiency in the residence halls. The University will also be recognized with a Best Practice Award for a student energy efficiency program at the event.

Alexander said 20 students from each residence hall served as Eco Reps who facilitated the energy saving and contest participation. “They did a great job brainstorming ways to conserve and get people involved,” Alexander said. It’s significant that these students are freshmen, he added, many of whom stay involved in sustainability efforts over the course of their stay at CSU, Chico.

“Over the three years our students have competed, we’ve seen increasing reductions, part of it fueled by the culture in those residence halls,” Alexander said. “The professional staff in housing are very aware of this contest, and now it’s become a legacy contest for the halls. This has been one of the most engaging student projects we’ve done.”

Alexander said it’s particularly important to note that energy reduction continues in the residence halls after the contests. The institute has tracked electricity consumption in the two halls for six weeks following the competition for the past two years. Both years the energy consumption remained at least 10 percent below their pre-competition baseline levels for that entire time period. “This tells us that the message of conservation is really sticking with the 400-plus students in these two halls,” Alexander said.

The nine other schools honored in the national competition were Concordia College, Dickinson College, Eastern Mennonite University, Georgia State University, Hofstra University, Northwest Missouri State University, Oklahoma State University, San Diego State University and Western Technical College.

The competition was hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); Lucid, a California-based software company; the Alliance to Save Energy; and the National Wildlife Federation.

More than 343,000 students in all participated in the competition, now in its fifth year. “Campus Conservation Nationals shows how college students are pioneering efforts to create a more sustainable future, starting with their campuses,” said Hannah Debelius, students program manager for the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “These students demonstrate the importance of making small daily changes to save energy and water. The results are remarkable, and every student and institution that participated should be proud of this accomplishment."

Details about the 2015 Campus Conservation Nationals are available here: http://www.competetoreduce.org/2015.

CSU, Chico’s participation in the national energy reduction competition was part of the third annual Wildcat Sustainability Showdown between Lassen and Shasta Halls. This year Shasta won, reaching a 28 percent reduction, besting Lassen’s 24 percent. The residence halls have taken turns winning the contest during the three years of its existence.

The campus competition was coordinated by the Institute for Sustainable Development in partnership with University Housing and Food Service and CSU, Chico’s chapter of the PowerSave Campus program.