Portland State University placed in the top ten by conserving water and electricity in the Campus Conservation Nationals last week.
Out of 109 schools to participate (four of which are Canadian), Oregon schools PSU and OSU competed, with PSU earning a top ranking by saving 42,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere and $6,446 in utility bills over three weeks.
“We organized events each week of the competition to raise awareness about actions students can take every day to reduce consumption, from a candlelight dinner to a smarter laundry workshop to a blackout board game night,” says Kristen Purdy, sophomore environmental science major and EcoReps coordinator for the PSU Sustainability Leadership Center. “We also encouraged students to take sustainability pledges like ‘unplug electronics’ or ‘take shorter showers’—little things everyone can do to make a difference. And it paid off.”
Total, the competition averted 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and saved $198,000 is utility costs. The universities collectively saved 2.2 million kilowatts of electricity and 476,000 gallons of water, which is equivalent to removing 201 homes from the grid for one year.
“This tangible mobilization of hundreds of thousands of students reducing energy consumption, promoting sustainability and actively mitigating the effects of climate change shows that the next generation is ready for change and is no longer willing to wait for decision makers to address the issues at hand,” says Hannah Debelius, USGBC Students program manager, the Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council.
Campus Conservation Nationals is organized by Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, the National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance to Save Energy.
To compete next year, click “How to Participate.” Sign up by October 25.