Following a decade-long tradition that promotes the pursuit of environmental sustainability, the EcoAction Club and Allison Guerette, Campus Sustainability Coordinator, launched the annual interscholastic Green Cup Challenge this past Wednesday.
The Green Cup Challenge, a month-long energy conservation competition between Andover, Deerfield, Choate, and St. Paul’s, stems from last year’s Gunga Energy Challenge — a shorter, smaller-scale competition held between Andover dorms.
“[Andover] is competing against other ESA [Eight Schools Association] schools to reduce the most electricity from school-specific baselines in a month-long challenge, and dormitories are competing against one another to reduce the most electricity from dormitory-specific baselines in four week-long challenges,” wrote Guerette in an email to The Phillipian.
“Ultimately, we all win when the school saves electricity and reduces its carbon footprint,but the EcoAction Club will also reward the dormitories that conserve the most electricity. Updates will be provided on the screens at Paresky throughout February, and you can follow the dormitory competition on Gunga Data, which is linked from the PAnet homepage,” Guerette continued.
Gherardo Morona ’17, president of the EcoAction club and one of the Green Cup Challenge’s coordinators, contributed to the planning and publicization of the event as well as its student outreach components.
“The intent for the Green Cup Challenge was to incentivize as many PA students as possible to develop sustainable habits. We attempted to achieve this through awarding prizes and nurturing a ‘friendly’ competitive spirit between dorms and with our other peer schools,” said Morona.
“I hope that this challenge will make students more aware of the impact that they can have as individuals through their daily actions. In the long term, I hope this will urge students to develop more sustainable habits,” Morona continued.
Challenge participant and Stevens House resident Jennie Guo ’19 believes that these challenges may make her more mindful of energy usage in the short term, but that frequent reminders may prove more constructive in the long term.
“I’m normally pretty conscious [of energy usage]… sometimes I leave the lights on by accident but usually I close them after I’m done with them… I guess it makes me slightly more aware, but I feel like just regular reminders work a lot better than some challenge because personally I feel like I don’t care that much about the challenge, but I care a lot about the environment,” said Guo.
Arno Min ’19, Bishop Hall resident, views the challenge as a good first step towards a more concrete change for environmental awareness.
“I think the challenge will help motivate people towards being more environmentally conscious. However, I also feel like there’s a large population of students who either are not really involved in the challenge or don’t have a huge interest in the challenge, so in that sense it may not be the most effective… I feel like regular reminders would generally speaking be more effective. But I think this is good that they’re trying to do this,” said Min.
The competition features an incentives program with weekly prizes and a celebratory munch awarded to the dorm that consumes the least amount of energy. Dorms such as Hearsey House and Bertha Bailey, which are not equipped with energy tracking software, as well as the day student community, will still be given the chance to win weekly prizes through taking pictures of energy saving actions and sending them to the Campus Sustainability Office.
“We hope the Green Cup Challenge inspires students to always look for ways to save energy. Small changes (such as unplugging devices when not in use and turning out lights when you leave a room) can collectively make a big difference in saving energy and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Guerette.