National Conservation Competition invades NMSU residential halls

February 24, 2015 by Jocelyn N. Apodaca, NMSU News Center

joni newcomer, center, Manager of Environmental Policy and Sustainability, emerges from a recycling bin. (photo by Ellen Castello)

joni newcomer, center, Manager of Environmental Policy and Sustainability, emerges from a recycling bin. (photo by Ellen Castello)

The largest electricity and water reduction competition plants itself on the New Mexico State University campus for a three-week stay, in an effort to arm students with tools to reduce consumption and the effects of climate change.

More than 175 colleges and universities participate in the challenge to mitigate the lasting impacts of carbon emissions and embrace a sustainable, more forward-thinking campus culture.

Beginning Feb. 23, students in Garcia Hall, Rhodes Garrett Hamiel Hall and Piñon Hall enter a three-week phase of sustainable competition to determine which residential hall used the least energy. Prizes will be distributed to the winners after the final reading has been performed.

Facilities and Services will do an initial reading of the energy used prior to the competition, 1-2 readings per week, and a final reading on the last day, March 15. Gathering the data will determine a percentage of which hall has used the least energy in proximity to it’s size.

Aggies Go Green Logo (Courtesy Photo) FEB15

“Having this program last for three weeks is the perfect way to get students to conserve, change their habits and really get people to think about their actions,” Program Specialist for Housing and Campus Life, Courtney Spivak said. “Making the NMSU community aware will help them think twice about sustainability.”

Hall council representatives take on the title of “Eco-Representative” for the time period and are in charge of promoting awareness throughout the residential halls.

“My job is to promote the concept of going green to residents that live specifically in Garcia Hall,” Eco-Rep Ariana Contreras said. “Along with that, informing students of what can and cannot be recycled is something I do.”

Contreras assisted with the “Aggies Do It In The Dark” kickoff event, Monday, Feb. 23. As a sophomore resident, she serves as the voice and eyes for current residents on what she believes on-campus students would like to see and have at an event.

“It’s a great reminder to take care of our resources and have mindfullness about taking care of our planet,” Spivak said.

In 2012 NMSU earned a Gold Star rating for its sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The university has performed many upgrades over the last five years, beginning with green building projects, adding 32 hydration stations, a toner recycling program and adding sustainability courses among other various upgrades.

The Manager of Environmental Policy and Sustainability at NMSU, joni newcomer is working with Ameresco, to perform an Investment Grade Audit (IGA) of all campuses. Ameresco, a worldwide leader in energy services led inspections in March 2013 to determine which buildings needed upgrades. On the Las Cruces main campus, 45 buildings were chosen to begin construction on new lighting and mechanical systems, helping improve NMSU’s energy efficiency, which keep utility costs down. These improvements are paid for through the savings generated by the project.

The CCN is organized by U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, National Wildlife Federation, and Alliance to Save Energy. NMSU sponsors include Housing and Campus Life, Office of Sustainability, Associated Students of New Mexico State University, Office of Facilities and Services, and the Office of Student Affairs.

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