Green Cup Challenge

Our success in this year’s Green Cup Challenge is commendable, but it is the school’s improvements in energy-efficiency and not our own that are responsible for this success. While the measures that the school has taken to become more sustainable deserve much praise, we, as the student body, need to take up a better, more motivated approach to green education. This year’s waning student enthusiasm about the Green Cup Challenge – and about energy conservation as a whole – needs to be addressed. Our high ranking, fourth place at the time of publication, is no excuse to be complacent. We can do so much more. In our case, the students cannot completely take credit for our good standing. The system by which the Green Cup Challenge measures the percent of energy conserved more accurately reflects changes that the school has made as an institution, rather than changes in the habits of the student body. This year, the baseline standard, the statistics from past years on which we hope to improve, is an average energy consumption of the past three Februaries. As our campus became more efficient in the past three years, this measure does not serve as an accurate baseline against which we judge our own habits, independent of the school’s energy system. As an institution, the school has made a serious commitment to becoming more sustainable. The hiring of Sustainability Coordinator Becky Bogdanovitch and a Food Sustainability Coordinator as well as the creation of the Advisor to the Head of School on Sustainabiliry, position specifically focused on environmental awareness across campus, are good steps. According to Associate Director of Maintenance and Utilities Carlos Montanez, the Office of the Physical Plant is continuously trying to make the school more efficient by installing self-timed lights and making other improvements. Now the student body must follow the examples that the administration has set. One year ago, following our eighth place finish out of fifteen, this column acknowledged that the school’s actual energy reduction during the Green Cup Challenge is negligible in terms of its impact on the environment, and the more important impact of the Green Cup Challenge is in the education it gives to the students. One year later, that fact persists. Rather than commenting on our apathy after the competition has ended, we hope that students will personally take up this challenge. We as individuals need to consciously make the decision to reduce our energy consumption. We wish to acknowledge those students who have done their part: E-stewards posting reminders for their peers next to light switches in dorms across campus and the dedicated students who do homework by computer light. These contributions may seem small, but they are made in the spirit of the Green Cup Challenge. These actions are indicative of an attitude, a mindset. Students should care. We, as a community, should wholeheartedly take part in this endeavor – otherwise, it is an empty gesture unworthy of the kind of effort that we Andover students bring to so many other aspects of our lives. It seems that the student element is missing.This year, we didn’t see a student-produced movie (a requirement for participation in the Green Cup Challenge) or encourage enthusiasm for the cause; it failed to inspire the kind of spirit that the students brought to the Green Cup Challenge last year. Here’s what we can do: start now, if we haven’t already. Turn off your lights, seal your windows. Make an effort. If we, as students, don’t change our behavior during these few weeks, it doesn’t matter what place we come in. We’ve missed the point.