Every year Skidmore’s Sustainability Representatives (S-Reps) strive to motivate students to reflect critically on sustainable living in the residence halls. Few actions have been as effective at enacting behavior change as the annual Skidmore Unplugged inter-hall energy reduction competition. From October 13th to November 3rd this past Fall each hall dreamed up creative ways to save kilowatts while the S-Reps offered engaging programs all around campus. For those few weeks mini-fridges were left unused and unplugged, decorative lights were left off, stairs were chosen over the elevators, energy-intensive sound systems were replaced by impromptu guitar jam sessions, TV-watching was replaced with book reading and a warm cup of tea.
The winning hall for 2013 was Kimball with a staggering 16% decrease in electricity consumption during the competition from a previously established baseline. Second was McClellan with a 6.3% decrease followed by Jonsson Tower with a 5.6% decrease. All together the event saved over 6000kWh of electricity, enough to power any of the south quad residence halls for approximately 10 days. For winning, Kimball has been rewarded with a water bottle refilling station, one of five currently on campus. The new prize aligns with the College’s push for more water bottle refilling stations on campus and will stay with the hall as a sustainable investment. Residents will be able to adopt other sustainable behaviors to reduce their impact.
Thanks to the efforts of the S-Reps and many others around campus, all students were invited to events such as an Unplugged Meditation, S’mores before the Moorebid Halloween ball (at a costume swap called S’moorebid), and a moonlit walk of Northwoods. The S-Reps also collaborated with Lively Lucy’s to offer an unplugged acoustic show at Falstaff’s and with Hayat for a Diwali festival of lights to end the event. Students joined together to promote conscious energy behavior and show that energy use is not necessarily correlated to the amount of fun one can have.