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Monday, February 14, 2011

Dorms at UWSP hope to go green with envy

From an article by by Nick Paulson in the Wausau Daily Herald:

STEVENS POINT -- The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is using competitions as a way to engage students in plans to reduce energy use across the campus.

Students in residence halls currently are competing in two contests -- one in energy and one in recycling -- that, in addition to offering prizes, organizers hope will teach students sustainable practices that will stick long after graduation.

UWSP has been exposing students to green living for years through more passive measures such as a "greenest dorm room." But by appealing to students' competitive natures and bringing whole residence halls together, contest organizers hope to engage students who otherwise wouldn't care.

"Wherever there is that added support, you see an increase in participation," said Cindy Von Gnechten, facilities designer for UWSP Residential Living. "Obviously, we want to educate them, but the biggest thing is to carry that with you as you go beyond the residence halls."

One competition, created internally, will pit residence halls against one another to see which one can cut its February energy usage the most, compared with a baseline from November. The hall with the biggest reduction will win three grand prizes.

Students also can be caught doing something green to be entered into a weekly raffle for environmentally friendly prizes.

UWSP residence halls also are participating in a national recycling contest, RecycleMania, in which universities across North America compete to decrease trash and increase recycling.

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