Annual Campus Climate Challenge begins

Mount Allison residences and academic buildings compete to lower energy consumption

The campus climate challenge is on! This annual, inter-university competition takes place from Feb. 4 to 17. Energy consumption is tracked in residences and academic buildings and compared against a baseline of the previous two weeks to see which building can lower its energy consumption the most. At stake for the residences are house points, which contribute to winning House of the Year.

“The goal is not to be an exclusive two week recognition of environmental issues, rather, it aims to promote sustainable practices that can be adopted in everyday life for weeks, months and years to come,” said Andrew Linton, third-year student and head eco rep. He’s part of the student group that organizes the Campus Climate Challenge, otherwise known as C3. The competition has been running since 2007 with schools participating  across the Maritime provinces. In past years, residences at Mt A have reduced their energy consumption upwards of 30 per cent.

The Campus Climate Challenge tracks energy consumption for a two week period to encourage student awareness of environmental issues. Sylvan Hamburger/Argosy

Siobhan Doyle is a second-year international relations student, member of eco-action and eco-rep of Windsor Hall. “As an eco-rep, we do monthly building audits of whether windows are left open or leaky, are tapes leaky, are lights working properly, are they being left on,” said Doyle. Doyle plans on hosting a clothing swap for the competition and having the hall lights reduced to quiet hour lights. She also wants to find ways to reduce Windsor’s footprint when they host Mardi Gras.

Amber Leblanc is the eco-rep for Avard-Dixon and a second-year environmental science student. “I’ve always been super conscious of the environment and of living more sustainably,” said LeBlanc. “I’m in conservation biology this semester and it’s reinforcing everything, it’s so important to be aware of what we’re doing to the earth and to save where you can.”

Awareness is an important part of the competition, but some students remain unaware that it’s going on. “A lot people don’t know about it or they’ll forget that it happens every year or that it’s going on right now,” said Leblanc.

The competition has a Facebook page where they post tips for reducing individual energy consumption and host events to encourage participation, such as a joint meal with Lettuce Eat and a local food night. However, the habits made during C3 are meant to continue beyond these two weeks. “I think that we should always be thinking about how to live more sustainably, but presenting information in the form of a two week event provides an opportunity to convey information about energy use and sustainability to a larger proportion of the Mt. A community,” said Linton. “The event is important as a reminder of how individual actions can have an impact in reducing energy consumption.”

Lily Falk