The Skidmore Unplugged energy conservation competition has been pitting Residence Halls against one another to conserve energy for nearly a decade. This year the competition expanded to include Sussman Village.
During the three-week competition, students were encouraged to be mindful of turning off lights and unplugging unused devices to save electricity in their rooms and classrooms. Energy use has implications far beyond campus, and events coordinated by the Sustainability Representatives cultivated broader conversation on the complexity of electricity generation and access. On the first day of Skidmore Unplugged, the college community was invited to observe “Lights-out” across campus. Participants were invited to use that half-hour to unplug from technology and plug into personal conversations. The next week, an Energy Resiliency Dinner Dialogue gave students a venue to talk in small groups with professors about a range of topics on energy generation, policy, and injustice. At a campfire event the last week of Unplugged, Scott Kellogg from Radix Ecological Sustainability Center spoke about the power of community organizing in a cozy Q&A.
The Sustainability Representatives built opportunities for students to engage with experts on topics in energy, and they also built something more physical- a thirteen-foot, hollow, wooden cube display. Olivia Golden ‘18, a third year Sustainability Representative, designed an installation that would help the Skidmore community envision the monthly carbon footprint of an average student, faculty, or staff at Skidmore, according to Skidmore’s 2013 greenhouse gas inventory. The Sustainability Representative team drilled together two-by-fours on a sidewalk in front of the Dining Hall and tethered it to the ground with spikes. Passersby could walk through the cube towering above them, and read signs posted about the display.
The residence hall competitors were thrown a curve-ball when the first snow of the year fell a week into the competition, and the heat kicked on across campus. Howe-Rounds maintained a 1% cut in electricity use, while many other halls increased. A new water bottle refill station will be installed in Howe-Rounds by Spring 2017, rewarding the hall with a sustainable prize that will benefit residents for years to come.
Sustainability Representatives Winnie Chien, Finley Tevlin, and Yesenia Olivares pose with the carbon cube. Our S-Reps thought outside-the-box to create this installation.