Brown's EcoReps has dared students in Poland House, Machado House, Slater Hall and Hope College to turn off the lights. In an effort to save energy, the student group launched an inter-dorm competition on April 11 to see which dorm will be able to consume the least energy over a three-week period.
"We want to raise awareness on energy efficiency," said Adam Maynard '11, one of EcoRep's coordinators. "And we just want to get people jazzed about this."
EcoReps will have access to the meter that measures the energy each dorm consumes, Maynard said. They will post the results on their blog and keep students updated with tips to save more energy.
The student group, which promotes green initiatives on campus, chose the four dorms because they are smaller and easier to target than other residence halls. "We want to know what to expect before we tackle the beast of a campus-wide competition," Maynard said.
According to Facilities Management's Director of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Initiatives Christopher Powell, the group will use the results of this competition to "fine tune the program." Facilities Management, which sponsors EcoReps, is overseeing the project.
"We will learn from it and create a long-term program," Powell said. Each resident of the winning dorm will receive a $5 gift certificate to a business on Thayer Street, and a percentage of the money saved on utility costs will go to a campus function of their choosing, Powell said.
"It's a real initiative to spread awareness and to educate students," he added.
To spread the word about the competition, EcoReps covered the walls of the dorms' common areas with posters and flyers.
"There are signs around the kitchen and bathrooms to make you aware of it," said Kelsey Keith '11, who lives in Slater. "Seeing them is a constant reminder to make an extra push and double check if the lights are off when you leave the room."
Amy Heuer '11, another Slater resident, said there's a lot of unnecessary energy consumption that goes on in dorms. "It's an awesome idea," Heuer added. "Hopefully, this will make people think about how they can help out."
Carmen Valdivia '10, who lives in Machado, said that she hasn't felt the impact of the competition yet. "I haven't seen much activity around the house," Valdivia said. "People haven't really changed their behavior."
The competition will end May 2. "I just hope people can realize how much their behavior can impact the environment," Maynard said.