SRU hopes students’ power ‘PASSHE Unplugged’ success

electrical plug and strip

March 10, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Saving energy is always a top priority at Slippery Rock University. Through its Sustainability Commission and Energy Conservation Committee, the University continually reminds the campus community that when it comes to energy, "Small steps can result in a big payoff." Now, students, faculty and staff are being asked to step up their energy saving efforts to help capture the PASSHE Unplugged crown.

PASSHE Unplugged will pit member institutions against one another in a competition measuring electrical energy consumption reduction during the period from March 21-April 10.

Electric meter data for the entire campus will be gathered for the competition period after spring break. Winners will be determined by the percent of reduction achieved compared to the baseline for campus.

Paul Scanlon, SRU assistant to the president for sustainability planning and operations, said the Office of Sustainability hopes to get residence halls competing against each other for prizes.

"The residence halls make up almost one third of our campus, and we want to use 'student power' to reduce our electrical use, as well as teaching them how they can manage their own electrical costs off-campus, and when they graduate and have to pay their own utility bill," Scanlon said. "This is all part of raising awareness about the role energy conservation can play in mitigating climate change and also about preparing our students with the skills they need in a world of diminishing resources."

Scanlon said the office would display a PowerPoint presentation on all the VISIX monitors around campus to raise awareness of the event. It will also display electrical energy use - current versus historical for the same days last year - on residence hall dashboards.

Common ways to reduce electricity consumption include unplugging devices when they're not in use, turning lights off and adjusting the thermostat. Those who have not already done so should take SRU's Energy Pledge (sru.edu/sustainability) promising to reduce consumption, Scanlon said. He said mobile devices could now be used. It only takes 30 seconds, and there will be random drawings for prizes among those who sign up.

Residence life staff will promote and encourage participation in the voluntary program, said Justin Kleemook, SRU assistant director of residence life.

"Being green and white means a whole lot more than just having green as our school color. It means living in a manner that is consistent with sustainable practices," he said.

He said the SRU's Living in an Environmentally Acceptable Fashion Living-Learning Community is experimenting with green and sustainable products.

"During the past few years, the Office of Housing and Residence Life has worked with the SRU Sustainability Office to partake in energy reduction competitions," he said.

SRU recently launched a 12-credit certificate in sustainability that targets non-environmental majors and includes service as part of its capstone course.

The University has captured many greening awards, including a 2015 APPA Award in Facilities Management for its efforts in reducing waste, lessening greenhouse gases and demonstrating leadership in green building design, recycling and education.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu