Slippery Rock University is participating in ‘Unplugged,’ a friendly, voluntary competition between nine out of the 14 schools in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to see which university can reduce their electricity use the most.
Paul Scanlon, special assistant to the president concerning sustainability said that this is the first type of contest for PASSHE and is a strictly voluntary event. The competition started March 21 and ends April 10; the participating universities include Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven, Millersville, Shippensburg, Westchester and SRU.
“Rewards of the competition include raising awareness of the need to reduce energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change/global warming, and reducing each university’s energy costs,” Scanlon said.
Prizes can be won from random drawings to taking the SRU energy pledge online where students are encouraged to take steps to save energy, like turning off lights and taking shorter showers.
Scanlon said there are some mistakes that students make that waste energy.
“Leaving residence hall thermostats at ‘occupied’ settings when leaving for weekends/breaks wastes a lot of energy,” Scanlon said. “Taking long showers, leaving lights and chargers on when not needed and leaving windows open when the heat is on all waste energy.”
Slippery Rock University has received achievements in the past for its sustainability, including being named one of Princeton Review Guide’s “Green Colleges”, earning a Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and last year won a national award for Sustainable Facilities Management. Scanlon said that this month the university is hoping to be recognized as a “Green Ribbon School” by the US Department of Education.
Scanlon said that SRU has been improving its energy efficiency by using energy efficient systems such as lighting controls and LED lighting, central heating and underground steam piping improvements to have produce less harmful GHG emissions.
Being knowledgable in energy efficiency can help students in the job field too, Scanlon said.
“Having a background in sustainability in general will give graduates an edge when interviewing for jobs since most major corporations are getting involved to help mitigate the effects of climate change/global warming,” Scanlon said.
Scanlon said that students can look online at the master calendar for events during Earth Week in April. Thus includes guest speaker Richard Alley, a scientist and author who will give a speech on energy and climate change and how it affects the future.