By Andrew Wroblewski
For the first time, Hofstra has decided to partner with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and become active in the Campus Conservation Nationals. The Campus Conservation Nationals is a nationwide competition that challenges residents of colleges and universities to save as much energy as possible, within a three-week competition period.
Patrick Lane, the USGBC Students Program Lead, oversees the Campus Conservation Nationals.
"The USGBC helps students by giving them a platform to organize their energy expenses and, in the process, become better occupants of both the dorms, and the earth" said Lane. "I have found it to be truly amazing to work with people who are pushing the boundaries and seeing students take things into their own hands".
Originally, the nationwide goal of the Campus Conservation Nationals was to save 1 gigawatt (1 billion watts) of energy in two and a half months. However, since the nationwide competition began on February 6, 2012, over 1.5 gigawatts have been saved. This includes over $150,000 saved in energy expenses, as well as 1.8 million pounds of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) that has been prevented from entering earth's atmosphere. From the start, the competition has become a nationwide effort. Over 160 campuses have joined in on the effort, including over 1,250 dorms and 250,000 residents-and these numbers are still growing.
Hofstra joined the competition on March 11, 2012. Since then, Hofstra has engaged in a 3 week long competition to see which one of its competing residence halls can save the most energy. The competing halls include Nassau, Suffolk, Bruekelen, and Rensselaer. Since the competition began, Hofstra has saved over $3,000 in energy expenses. This includes over 22,000 Kilowatt-hours saved and over 20,000 pounds of CO2 that have been averted.
To check in on the competition, students can visit www.buildingdashboard.net/Hofstra. Students may also visit the website in order to make pledges on specific methods to conserve energy and to contribute to the movement.
Hofstra has recommended ways for students to help add to "green" movement. Students have been advised to make sure appliances are unplugged when they are not in use, take shorter showers, and most importantly to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather by opening windows for a cool breeze, instead of relying on air conditioning.
The resident assistance staff members of Hofstra's halls have also done their part to ensure that they, as well as their residents, are keeping up with the "green" movement.
"The RAs in Nassau/Suffolk make sure that all the lights in unoccupied floor lounges are switched off during our nightly rounds, as well as unplugging and switching off electronics in our own rooms, and encouraging our residents to do the same" said Jenny Hart, an RA in Suffolk Hall.
This encouragement from the RAs of Hofstra seems to be getting through to the residents of Hofstra.
"To conserve energy I turn off all the lights in my room whenever I am not in the room" said Kyler Pollick, a sophomore journalism major, who is also a resident in Suffolk Hall. "I also use more blankets so that I do not have to use the heater as often".
In order to promote the program further, fliers have been handed out to students who live in the residence halls. The fliers, labeled with the headline "We do it in the Dark", were handed out alongside a free Premium male condom. The fliers are concluded with another tagline that states, "If you're going to do it, do it safely". The promotion encourages Hofstra's energy saving movement, as well as safe sex amongst its students.
Many of the students who received these fliers seem to appreciate Hofstra's encouragements for conserving energy and practicing safe sex.
"I think it's a clever idea to use the topic of sex as a way to get students interested in energy conservation", said Hart.
Pollick agreed with Hart, but found it odd that only one condom was provided per room.
"In each room there are more than just one person so everyone was a tad confused about that planning", said Pollick.
Hofstra's contribution to the Campus Conservation Nationals competition will come to an end on March 31, 2012. The Campus Conservation Nationals nationwide competition ends on April 23, 2012. While these dates may mark the end to this year's competition, Lane is hopeful that universities will join the effort again when it recommences in 2013.
"I love that Hofstra is involved" said Lane. "I'm hopeful that Hofstra, along with other schools, will continue to support the program when it returns next year".