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Editorial

Students encouraged to enter competition

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April 23, 2009

In 2006, Gov. Jim Doyle announced that UW-River Falls would be one of four UW System schools participating in a pilot program called UW Off the Grid. The goal was to have UWRF produce all of its own energy and become completely sustainable by 2012. So far the University has done an admirable job in working toward that goal.

There is a new resource UWRF should take advantage of. America’s Greenest Campus is a new, online contest extended out to every university in the nation. Created by executives for SmartPower and Climate Culture, the contest is a first of its kind national event. Universities that participate compete in up to three separate categories: most student participation, largest percentage decrease in energy expenditure and a SmartPower energy ad contest. The winning school in each of the first two categories receives $5,000 apiece. It is in these two categories that the Student Voice feels UWRF should be competing in.

How to compete is simple. Students can log onto americasgreenestcampus.com and register using their school e-mail address. After that, they can log different actions under the Reduction Center link they are taking to reduce their carbon footprint. The system calculates the total percentage of carbon reduction per person and ranks all the competing schools. A chart of all the contending universities is displayed at the bottom highlighting how many participants a school has, and an average of how much each participant is reducing their carbon footprint.

UWRF needs to seriously compete in America’s Greenest Campus. Having been chosen by Gov. Doyle to help lead the UW off-the-grid challenge makes this campus an obvious contender for this contest. The University has already implemented a large number of energy saving initiatives.

Getting student involvement could be a simple as getting the word out. Utilize the table tents found on every table on the ground floor of the UC. Put a slide explaining what to do into Channel 10 rotation. Ask professors to take five minutes out of the beginning of class to urge their students to log on and register. Hang up posters in the Residence Halls. Do whatever it takes.

Even if UWRF doesn’t win the total carbon footprint reduction half of the contest, this University could become a serious contender in terms of total student participation. The leading school right now is George Mason University with 979 active participants. UWRF could easily eclipse that number, taking the No. 1 spot, if students would simply take five minutes to register. Think of what an extra $5,000 could do in the midst of a recession.