GW looks to boost student sustainability challenge

After dismal participation in GW’s eco-challenge last year, the Office of Sustainability will add monthly prizes this fall to help increase interest in conserving energy.

The office will create a September challenge to reward the hall that saves the most water and energy with a water bottle spigot in its lobby, Director of the Office of Sustainability Meghan Chapple-Brown said. And in October, residents in the winning hall will win food-related prizes, like last year’s behind-the-scenes tour of Founding Farmers, and will all receive reusable water bottles, she said.

The last prize – a sustainable upgrade of the hall’s choice, with options like an energy-efficient television – will go to the winners of the entire competition.

“We’re trying to beef up eco-challenge this year. What’s really critical going forward is student engagement,” Chapple-Brown said.

The move to pique students’ interest comes after more than half of the 30 participating residence halls actually increased their water and energy consumption during last year’s contest.

Chapple-Brown said the office is trying to promote sustainable habits like turning off the lights and not letting faucets run, targeting some of the outreach toward incoming freshmen.

“We’re trying to take advantage of getting students to form the right habits as soon as they get to campus,” she said.

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