Residence halls to conduct energy conservation contest

Julie McKinney

Kent State’s colors may be blue and gold, but the color green is now playing an important part in Residence Services.

A conservation contest will take place from Oct. 15 to Nov. 13 in the residence halls. Thomas Dunn, associate director of campus environment and operations, will speak in the Student Center’s Governance Chambers about Kent State’s green approach and the residence halls’ competition. The speech will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 11.

This fall’s competition will have a push for electricity, while a February competition will focus on recycling.

Residence Services wants students to participate during competition months, but the main goal is broader than that.

“We want this to be a lifestyle change,” said Marijean Benedik, assistant director of residence services.

About 35 Fletcher Hall residents listened to Benedik speak Monday night. Although many students said their initial intentions were to win a pizza party, Benedik stressed the reality of conserving energy now.

“In 20 or 30 years, you are going to care,” she said. “So now is the time to get on board.”

Leaving one cell phone charger plugged in all the time could cost $4 a month, Benedik said. The 6,000 plus students on campus could save an incredible amount of money and energy if they unplugged their chargers when they are not in use.

“It doesn’t just affect the environment – it affects everyone financially,” Benedik said. “The program is a win-win.”

More than $5 million was spent on utilities in the residence halls alone last year, Benedik said.

Students can begin making changes in the residence halls. They can forgo decorative lighting, turn off computers at night, take shorter showers and wash full loads of clothes with cold water.

Jay Sharp, junior business management major, said he tries to conserve energy.

“I always turn my light off when I leave my room,” he said.

Kelly Sylvester, junior interior design major, said conserving energy is sometimes an inconvenience.

“I usually like to come back and have my TV on,” Sylvester said.

Aside from conserving energy, students can do other things on campus, such as refusing to drink from plastic water bottles.

“I refill and recycle (them),” Sharp said.

Sylvester, however, said she doesn’t refill her bottles.

“I recycle, yeah, but I usually just get a new one”, she said.

Residence Services has already made changes by supplying housekeepers with cleaning products that are better for the environment and by using florescent lighting in some hallways. Yet, there’s only so much residence services can do.

“Only you guys have control of those rooms,” Benedik said.

Contact room and board reporter Julie McKinney at jmckinn[email protected]