AUBURN – Nearly 4,000 Auburn University students in 30 residence halls saved more than $12,000 in water and electricity costs in this year’s Sustain-A-Bowl, Auburn’s annual resource reduction competition. The goal of the competition was for each residence hall to reduce both its electricity and water consumption by 10 percent.
Twenty-three of the 30 residence halls participating reached the electricity reduction goal, while 22 halls reached the water reduction goal. Overall winners for the competition included Broun Hall in the Quad, Toomer Hall in the Hill and Tiger Hall in the Village.
“Sustain-A-Bowl is a great example of connecting on-campus living with the educational goals of the university,” said Becky Bell, director of Residence Life. “Our residents, particularly in the month of February, are actively involved in learning about sustainability through activities, programs and bulletin boards in their residence halls. In addition, their participation in energy, water and waste reduction connects the principles of sustainability with actual results. It’s great to see our progress regarding sustainability and what sustainability actually encompasses.”
On Sunday, March 25, the accomplishments of the students who participated in Sustain-a-Bowl will be recognized at Auburn’s home baseball game against LSU. The game starts at 1 p.m., and admission for students is free. For ticket information, go to http://www.auburntigers.com/tickets/.
Over the last four years, students have saved more than $36,000 through energy and water reductions. Sustain-A-Bowl serves as an example of the cumulative effects of individual actions in co-creating a positive future.
“Sustain-A-Bowl is a dramatic example of how individuals, when joining together in community with other individuals, can make a significant positive difference for the common good,” said Mike Kensler, director of campus sustainability operations at Auburn. “In this case, conserving natural resources and saving money, and reducing waste and pollution.”
A study published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found a decline in young people’s concern for the environment and taking personal action to save it. Kensler said in spite of the negative trend, he sees many bright and engaged students who are as committed to addressing important societal issues as students from any generation.
“Here at Auburn, we see students involved in a wide range of activities to improve societal wellbeing,” he said. “Through student organizations, classes, research projects, Residence Life, Student Affairs, SGA and other opportunities, students participate in programs like Sustain-A-Bowl that help them realize that they do have the ability and power to make a difference. It has been my experience that once individuals and groups realize the extent to which they can and do make a difference, they become citizens in the highest sense of the word.”
Each year, the competition challenges residents to live more sustainably by reducing their electricity and water use and increasing their recycling for the four-week period. Organizers said that the competition is not just about using less, but also about learning more. Throughout the month of February, residents and Residence Life staff earned points for their halls by participating in events that educate residents about sustainable living.
Sustain-A-Bowl is hosted annually by Residence Life and the Office of Sustainability, with the support of Facilities Management and the Waste Reduction and Recycling programs. The Sustain-A-Bowl final celebration is sponsored by Tiger Catering, with the support of Auburn Athletics.
(Written by Carol Nelson.)