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Throughout the month of February, residents and Residence Life staff in 30 Auburn University residence halls are participating in the annual Sustain-A-Bowl competition, which challenges each hall to reduce energy and water usage by 10 percent.
The competition is engaging more than 4,000 campus residents in activities and programs challenging them to live more sustainably by reducing utility costs and increasing their recycling for the four-week period. Over the last four years, students have saved more than $36,000 through energy and water reductions.
"Energy is a finite resource. It's a misconception that people have that we can just plug it in and oh, there's always energy," said Carolina Ruiz, a student intern in the Office of Sustainability. "It's important for individuals to know their personal energy consumption because then once you multiply your usage – while your number may not be that large, added with everyone else's it becomes a big number and we need to be aware of that."
Residents and Residence Life staff earn points for their halls by participating in events that educate residents about sustainable living with a focus on energy, personal wellness, recycling and water.
Students have created bulletin boards, made do-it-yourself up-do scarves using old T-shirts, and held "Trash to Treasure" events where residents collect items they no longer want and swap with others who might have use for the items. They also are participating in exercise classes and a stress reduction and wellness workshop.
Public events include a recycling town hall meeting, "Starboretum Wars" at the College of Sciences and Mathematics' Donald E. Davis Arboretum and opportunities for involvement in the restoration of Parkerson Mill Creek.
"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 the Office of Sustainability at Auburn. "In this case, conserving natural resources and saving money, and reducing waste and pollution."
In March, results will be tallied and the winning residence halls will be recognized.
Sustain-A-Bowl is hosted annually by Residence Life in the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Sustainability, with the support of Facilities Management and the Waste Reduction and Recycling programs.
Last Updated: Feb. 15, 2013