Just a few weeks ago, I brought my plate up to the dirty dish belt, where I normally throw away my napkin, but there was no garbage can. I considered throwing away my napkin into the silverware bin. Soon, I found a small sign that said, “We are now composting. Napkins and food stay on your plate.” I immediately thought that my efforts to push the dining hall to get a composting system had finally succeeded.
The Sustainable Life Club had been urging the dining hall to get a composting system installed for a few months. I remember Mr. Martin telling me that it was too costly for what they would be able to compost, but the last time that they considered composting was a few years ago. I thought that the club would have to put on a fundraiser so that we could raise money to bring the composting system into the dining hall.
The first week of the 2013 Green Cup Challenge has yielded fierce competition and fantastic results. The students in French House have a clear lead over their competitors, reducing their electricity consumption by 33%, compared to their weekly average consumption. Despite speculation that smaller dorms would have a harder time reducing electricity usage because there are a limited number of ways they could save energy, the members of French have been very successful in their efforts.
Another dorm worthy of praise is Ford Hall. Ford, despite the electricity used by the Dining Commons and the Children’s Center, has been able to decrease their use of electricity by 11%. Even though they were not ranked among the top three dorms after the first week, the students in Ford Hall have saved the most energy. Ford has saved 760 kWh, enough to power French House for a few weeks.
This past Wednesday, the 2013 Green Cup Challenge began. With dorms trying to reduce their electricity use as much as possible, students are turning off their lights, unplugging their chargers, and using other creative energy saving solutions.
The annual competition is among dorms on campus, as well as among schools across the the country. While it is important for individual dorms to save as much electricity as possible, the ultimate goal is to reduce Williston’s electricity as much as possible.
Bustling Wednesday lunches, an exhausting swimming practice, several long hours in the library, and studying for the next math test make our daily life seem like it is on the brim of its maximum capacity. Constantly running from class to class, with a paper in hand, cramming for the English vocabulary test next period, sometimes we are so busy doing what is assigned to us that we forget what we do best: caring.
Caring for each other happens: we somehow find a little time to take a break and relax with someone and get to know how that person is really doing. Our caring for each other makes Williston a community of connected people, able to lend a hand when necessary.
Often overlooked, but just as important, is how our community cares for the environment. We already live very sustainably because many of us live in dorms, walk to school, and eat in a communal dining hall. Even though we seem to live sustainably, we still use a lot of resources. In order to reduce our resource consumption and reduce the amount of bills the business office has to pay, our school has implemented many low-impact appliances and systems. For example, we have fluorescent lighting in the lampposts around campus, geothermal heating in 194, and composting in the dining hall.
The purpose of this blog is to highlight those things that the community is doing to live more sustainably by educating the public. Christian Knapp, Evan Jacobson, and I will be using this blog as a system of educating the public about the environment and, more specifically, what our school is doing to live in greater harmony with the earth. Continue reading →