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Competition gets students thinking about sustainability

October 17, 2016 1:15 PM
Samah Ahmed newwave@tulane.edu
Several initiatives to further campus sustainability are already in place on the uptown campus. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)


The Tulane University Office of Sustainability is hosting its first “green” grant competition in which students can apply for project funding from the Tulane Unplugged Fund. The goal of the fund is to support initiatives that will reduce Tulane’s environmental impact.

“These projects could be completely implemented by students, like a green education campaign, or it could be something that needs to be done with a campus partner, like getting a piece of more energy-efficient equipment for a lab or installing a water-bottle filler,” said Elizabeth Davey, director of the Tulane Office of Sustainability.

Another way for students to get involved is by participating in Tulane Unplugged, an annual energy conservation competition that runs Oct. 31 through Nov. 13. In this competition, residents of uptown campus residence halls challenge one another to reduce their energy use.

“We would like to help people start thinking in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

Elizabeth Davey

Students can apply to serve as an Energy Advocate who will lead each residence hall in implementing energy-saving practices.

Last year, uptown residence halls saved nearly 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions during the three-week competition period. The energy costs saved during the competition now fund the Tulane Unplugged Fund.

Facilities Services and the Office of Sustainability have launched a website that tracks the electricity usage of each campus building in real time.

“How do you actually estimate the impact of an action you take or project you make? What can we do that will result in the biggest C02 reductions,” asked Davey. “We would like to help people start thinking in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”                                                                                                   

Samah Ahmed is a junior majoring in public health at Tulane University.