Students compete to conserve
Author: Laura Gleim, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: February 3, 2014

Starting February 17—it’s on. Portland State students living on campus will compete in a national conservation challenge against peers from colleges and universities across the country.

The challenge: Reduce the amount of water and electricity consumed in campus residence halls over a three-week period. Students in six residence halls at PSU—Ondine, Broadway, Blumell, Montgomery, St. Helens, and Stephen Epler—will compete against each other on campus, and they will collectively go up against buildings at more than 150 other campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

The competition, Campus Conservation Nationals, isn’t new to PSU, but twice as many PSU buildings are participating this year—six buildings up from three in last year’s competition. Estimated utility bill savings from PSU’s water and energy reductions during the 2013 competition totaled more than $2,700.

Weekly progress of each building will be tracked by PSU’s utilities manager and logged on an interactive dashboard linked from the Campus Conservation Nationals website.

“The numbers are great,” said Kristen Purdy, EcoReps coordinator for the Sustainability Leadership Center, “but there’s more to the competition than that. Students get to see how sustainability plays into their everyday lives. They learn how to compost, turn out the lights when they leave, take a refillable water bottle with them—a lot of little things that everyone can do to make a difference.”

PSU EcoReps are leading the charge to raise awareness about the competition and encourage their neighbors to reduce their consumption as much as possible.

Check out the great lineup of events the EcoReps have planned, and come on out to join them:

Candlelight Dinner

Feb. 13, 5-8 p.m. at Victor’s in Ondine
Join the PSU EcoReps at Victor's for an environmentally friendly candlelight dinner. To show your support, take the sustainability pledge and earn a prize!

Conservation Conversation 

Feb. 18, 5-7 p.m. in Ondine lobby
Interested in sustainability? Want to learn how to conserve resources? Want to know more about the upcoming Campus Conservation Nationals? Stop by to discuss conversation with the EcoReps, and maybe you'll even earn a prize!

Fortified: True Stories of Climate Action

Feb. 20, 5-7 p.m. at the Smith Student Union Ballroom | FREE with RSVP
Join the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions and partners including the city of Portland, Climate Solutions, Ecotrust, Oregon Environmental Council, Renewable Northwest Project, and the VOIS Alliance for an evening of live storytelling performed by everyday heroes taking on climate change. Free food will be provided! Please RSVP here.

Logical Laundry: Soap Making Workshop

Feb. 21, 5-7 p.m. in Ondine lobby
This hand-on activity shows you just how easy it is to make laundry detergent. All supplies will be included, and you can take home what you make! Along with making soap, you can learn about more sustainable ways to do your laundry.

Pedal for Power 

Feb. 26, 7-10 a.m. in Victors at Ondine
Hop on an energy-generating bike at Victor’s and find out just how much energy it takes to make your morning smoothie. 

Blackout Game Night 

March 7, 7-9 p.m. in the lobbies of all participating residence halls
Unplug and connect with your residence hall mates for a night of board game fun. There will be games provided, but you can always bring your own!