Hannah Hollinger

Hannah Hollinger

Breaking wasteful habits through campus-wide competitions

Reaching climate neutrality by 2050 at UCF involves more than improving how campus is run, but also how campus is used. What better way to promote this mindfulness than with a little friendly competition? With that, March 1st marks Month #2 of 3 of the campus-wide competitions, Kill-A-Watt Energy Conservation Competition and Recycle Mania. The goal? To reduce in-house waste production between February and April in hopes to extend these waste mindful practices into the future.

More specifically, the 9th Annual Kill-A-Watt Energy Conservation Competition aims to lower energy usage in university housing. This time around, the competition has been extended to Neptune, NorthView, and UCF-owned Greek houses (Kappa Alpha Theta, Chi Omega, and Kappa Kappa Gamma) to be included in the running for the accompanied scholarship opportunities. Throughout the campaign’s extent, buildings in each community compete to reduce their energy consumption by at least 20% compared to past utility baselines. Those residing in the buildings that reached the 20% reduction become eligible to enter for a scholarship of either (Grand Prize) $750, (Runner Up) $350, and (Honorable Mention) $100 by submitting a video or digital art piece to the Sustainable UCF Facebook page showcasing how they saved energy.

In years past, the Kill-A-Watt Competition has resulted in savings of nearly $50,000 over the two-month period and has saved the university a total of 2,216,485 kWh of energy, equivalent to $216,004.00. The energy saved could power 200 average homes in the United States for a full year! While these monetary benefits are helpful, the underlying drive behind this competition is to prepare students to conserve energy, rather than grow accustomed to “unlimited” utilities as allowed via on-campus billing.

Dating back to 2007 and sponsored by Keep America Beautiful, UCF has also participated in the Recycle Mania Tournament with the goal to increase the university wide recycling rate. After a few years out of the game, Amy Childs, Coordinator of Housekeeping & Recycling Services and Recycle Mania Coordinator, sees UCF as an ideal hub for reinstating participation in the Recycle Mania tournament this year. “We want to encourage other universities and colleges to participate in recycling as part of a world wide effort to protect our planet. Being one of the largest universities, many others focus on what we do, therefore we have to be diligent in ensuring we are promoting the right efforts; this does that for us,” Childs states.

The recycling percentage rates have gone up in ranking in the years of prior participation, despite the exponential growth in the university’s population (and with that, increasing waste). In 2008, UCF increased recycling by 14.59%, in 2009 by 18.24%, and in 2010 by 18.71%. Expectations are nothing less for 2016. “We want to promote recycling because it’s the right thing to do. It is a very easy way for us to have a positive impact on our immediate community and protect our environment. Recycling aids in reducing pollution and energy demands, as well as in preserving our natural resources.” UCF Recycling Services is only reporting results this year, however, will strive to be amongst the leaders in recycling efforts by increasing student involvement and tournament marketing materials in the future.

For assistance with or more information on Kill-A-Watt, please contact Sustainability Initiatives.

Fore more information on Recycle Mania, please contact UCF Housekeeping and Recycling Services.