By Alie Shreiber ’13
Trinity College’s dorms are currently in a competition to see which dorm can conserve the most energy over a six-day period, from April 21 to April 27. There will be 16 dorms competing in this inaugural competition. The winning dorm will win a prize that is selected by a survey. The options of prizes include: four $50 gift cards raffled to students in that dorm, a pizza party, a sundae party, a study break themed party, or a trophy. At the time of publication the gift cards had a clear lead. This survey also asks questions about sustainability. For filling out the survey there will also be prizes. Two $25 gift cards and 20 shirts will be raffled off to all survey participants, which can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/xxfc6c7.
The 16 dorms participating are: North Campus, High Rise, Boardwalk, Cook, Doonesbury, Elton, Funston, Summit East, Summit South, Vernon, Smith, Stowe, Northam, Jarvis, Jones, and Goodwin & Woodward. Students living in a participating dorm win points for each hour of reducing their electricity use from their historic average. Some tips provided by the organizers to reduce electrical consumption include: power down or sleep electronics when you are not using them, unplug chargers and turn off power cords, turn off TVs and lights in empty rooms and bathrooms, take the stairs instead of an elevator, and wash and dry clothes on cold cycles, not hot/warm. Residents in the dorms can check their progress and compare it to other dorms at www.trincoll.edu/bantamblitz.
Next year the Sustainability Office hopes to increase the event to twice a year. In addition, they want to incorporate more student groups in the competition such as sports teams, cultural houses, community service groups, Greek houses, etc.
This project first came to Trinity because other college campuses have tried this same type of event and have seen major reductions in the amount of energy consumed. For example, Pomona College in Claremont, Cali. did a similar competition and saw a 24 percent reduction in energy use. This is a great effort for the planet, college, and college budget. To use a phrase common in the industry, “It’s the triple bottom line: social, economic, and environmental benefits.”
This year’s competition is sponsored by ARAMARK at Trinity College, who is in charge of facilities. They will be managing the competition and the gauges on the dorms that measure our efficiency. ARAMARK manages the facilities at several other local campuses and if the pilot program at Trinity is successful they want to expand the program to their other campuses.
This program took several months to put in place and make sure that all the gauges on the dorms were reading accurately. Kira Sargent, an employee in the Sustainability Office who planned this competition, said, “Behavior change is often overlooked in sustainability but people have the power to lessen their impact on the environment every day in their daily habits. This highlights what people can do right now for Trinity.”
The Bantam Blitz coincides with a wider initiative called Earth Week. Trinity’s Green Campus Organization sponsors the conservation efforts of Bantam Blitz, and has also organized the following Earth Week Events: A “Zero Food Waste” effort to take only what you need in the dining halls; “Power Down Day” to unplug unused electronics and power strips; and a planting event at the TREEhouse on Wednesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.
This coming Saturday, the NESCAC Environmental Action Conference will be held at Wesleyan University. Trinity students can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if they are interested in attending.