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Students compete over energy savings

By Julie Ooms

The residents of East Campus and Southview Apartments, as well as Covenant, West, North, and East Halls spent the first half of the semester competing with each other to see which building could lower its use of electrical energy the most.

Vander Wel

Vander Wel

The project began last summer when members of the Creation Care Club were looking for a way to help reduce energy consumption on campus. Student members Brandon Vander Wel, Laura MacMillan, Teresa Maas, and Jeremy Westra, along with Environmental Studies professor Robert De Haan, teamed up with Maintenance, the business office, and residence life staff to organize an electricity conservation contest for all student residences. The winning building was promised a pizza party.

The effort, Vander Wel says, has been campus-wide and concerns more than just students. “Maintenance has been with us from the beginning, giving us advice and helping us get the numbers,” he says. The business office is sponsoring the prize, and Residence Life is helping to distribute information and advertise the competition.

Vander Wel is excited and encouraged by how well Dordt students participated. “In the first month,” he says, “the average Dordt student used eleven percent less electrical energy than students have for the past three years.” At the half way point in the competition, Covenant Hall was in the lead, with a twenty-three percent decrease in energy usage, and the eleven percent average shows that other buildings weren’t far behind.

“I hope the competition raises awareness among students about how they can conserve energy,” Vander Wel says. “I think that when they saw the numbers halfway through the competition, students started to see what they can do, and hopefully wiill develop good habits for energy use that they’ll keep up after they leave.”

Vander Wel and his fellow Creation Care Club members hope to raise awareness about other utilities, like gas and water, in the future. “I’d like to see more electricity conservation in other buildings on campus, like the classroom and science buildings and the Campus Center,” he says. For now, though, Vander Wel is pleased with students’ enthusiasm for the competition.