Marshall students compete to conserve

    For the entire month of May, Thurgood Marshall College residents will be competing in an energy conservation and recycling contest. Each residential building is competing to conserve the most energy, and the winning building will get a chance to take a tour of the underground tunnels at UCSD. The residential halls, Marshall Uppers and Lowers Apartments are also competing against each other in a recycling contest.

    For the energy conservation contest, each building’s energy output for this month will be measured and compared to the energy output for the month of February. In an effort to remain fair for buildings with fewer residents, a ratio will be calculated by dividing the output difference by the number of residents in the building. The building with the highest amount of energy saved per resident will win the contest.

    Students have been pursuing different strategies to save energy for the contest. Katie Wurden, a Marshall freshman, and her apartment-mates have been unplugging TVs and VCRs when the appliances are not in use, using only one light while showering and putting their computers in sleep mode.

    Wurden herself pasted sticky notes around the apartment to remind her roommates to conserve energy.

    “”I think energy conservation is incredibly important, especially for those in on-campus housing,”” Wurden said. “”Since utilities are included in the housing cost, many students take the cost of electricity for granted. This contest is definitely giving me some new habits that will not only benefit the environment, but will also come in handy upon living off-campus.””

    The recycling contest pits the residence halls against the two Marshall apartment areas. Each area has two bins in a specific location — one for paper and the other for plastic, aluminum and glass beverage containers. The bins will be weighed to determine which area recycled the most.

    Isaac Pearlman, a Marshall residential advisor who came up with the contest idea, said the prize for this contest is yet to be determined. Possibilities include renting out the AMC La Jolla Theater for a screening of “”The Matrix: Reloaded,”” or a pool party.

    Pearlman said he came up with the idea for these contests from seeing residents wasting energy, water and recyclable materials. As an environmental systems major, Pearlman himself has been dedicated to recycling since before college, and he is also trying to watch his energy usage. His strategies include only leaving on lights and appliances when he needs them, taking shorter showers and reading more instead of watching TV.

    “”I figured if we could give residents an incentive to conserve, they can hopefully see how easy it is and that they can easily make a difference,”” Pearlman said. “”Also, residents gain valuable conservation skills for when they move off-campus and actually have to pay for all of their utilities.””

    Pearlman organized the event with the help of the Marshall residential deans, programming interns and the other residential advisors — all who have been highly supportive of the idea.

    “”If it’s a competition, people are more likely to [conserve] than if it’s just for the sake of conserving,”” said Steve Geist, a third-year programming intern at Marshall who helped coordinate the event among the residential advisors.

    Other administrative members have also been receptive to Pearlman’s idea. Gary Matthews, assistant vice chancellor in charge of the Auxiliary and Plant Services, and Steve Benedict, director of the Environment, Health and Safety Department, have both agreed to donate $250 to the contests. The UCSD Recycling Department has also enthusiastically supported the event.

    “”With our budget crisis, we’re looking at all kinds of ways to save money,”” said Marciano Perez, assistant residential dean for Marshall college. “”I think this is a great way for students to help out with the budget crisis.””

    A free barbecue and concert will take place on May 29 to announce the winners of each contest. Pearlman also hopes to have tables with information from student environmental organizations at the concert, along with a showcase of hybrid cars and demonstrations from a solar panel company.

    According to Perez, the event will be evaluated at the end of the month. If the results are positive, the contests could potentially be made an annual event, possibly including the other colleges at UCSD and other universities in the area.

    “”When I first developed the idea, I thought of it as something that could be a fun annual event,”” Pearlman said. “”And the pleasantly surprising support we’ve had this year from the administration … adds to my hope that in the future, this could become an inter-campus competition. But first we just have to concentrate on making this year successful.””

    [Ed. note: Isaac Pearlman is the former sports editor at the UCSD Guardian.]

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