Building Community While Using Less Energy

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During the month of January, students living in Calvin College residence halls participated in “Kill-a-Watt,” a creation-care awareness contest.

“The goal of Kill-a-Watt is to educate students about sustainability and how their faith intersects with sustainability and how caring for creation is part of our faith,” said Becki Levad, the resident director who headed up the contest.

Throughout interim, residence halls competed with one another to lower their electricity usage, earning points in a variety of ways. By taking such actions as eliminating extra appliances, unplugging cords not in use, turning on computers’ power-saving modes, or using natural light instead of electricity, 470 students worked to get their rooms Dorm Room Environmental Awareness Movement (DREAM) certified.

The program also included a “Meatless Monday” challenge in the dining hall, where students opted to skip meat for one meal and learned about the environmental effects of meat production. Hundreds of “Lifestyle Challenges” were taken on, providing students a chance to try out a new lifestyle habit by going without meat, clothes dryers, room refrigerators, bottled water, and/or long showers for all of interim.

In addition, student leaders organized numerous campus-wide and residence hall-based educational events related to creation care. Events included a screening of the documentary No Impact Man, faculty lectures, plant-potting, field trips, water-scarcity simulations, lectio divina (praying with Scripture), and more.

As a result of this challenge, residence halls reduced their energy usage by an average of 8 percent when compared to last January’s totals.

—Calvin College Communications

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