Pitzer Leads 5C PowerDown

Turn down for the environment—energy and water consumption, that is. 

PowerDown, a three-week 5C energy reduction
competition, is part of Campus Conservative Nationals (CCN), the largest energy
and water cutback contest for colleges and universities in the world. The competition at the Claremont Colleges began Feb. 16 as the kickoff to a larger two-year energy challenge happening in cities across the country. The later competition will launch March 26 for the city of Claremont in Pomona College’s Rose Hills Theatre, and the winning city will be awarded $5 million. 

As of Feb. 26, Pitzer College held the PowerDown lead with a 5.5 percent reduction in consumption. Claremont Mckenna College was at Pitzer’s heels with a 5.4 percent reduction, followed by Pomona, Harvey Mudd College and then Scripps College. With 10 days left in the competition, PowerDown has already saved 6,675 kilowatt-hours and has averted 3,682 pounds of carbon dioxide.

This is the third year the 5Cs
have participated in PowerDown, and Pitzer is currently the reigning champion.
Warren Biggins, Pitzer’s sustainability coordinator, attributed Pitzer’s past success to the past sustainability coordinator and
EcoCenter members.

“EcoCenter
members continue to do an incredible job of leading Pitzer’s PowerDown
efforts—if you made it by our Smoothies with Sol event on Friday, I think
you’ll agree,” Biggins wrote in an email to TSL. “I also think that potential students are attracted to
Pitzer because of the college’s environmental values and commitment to
sustainability, so I’m not surprised that, once on campus, students take the PowerDown
competition seriously.”

While perhaps not as institutionally devoted to environmental advocacy, the other colleges are fueled with
competitive spirit. Anna Zimmerman CM ’17, the ASCMC Campus Organizations Chair, promoted the competition to students in a club inform email. 

“In the name of energy conservation, let’s beat Pitzer this year,” Anna Zimmerman CM ’17 wrote in an email to the CMC student body. “I mean,
how great would that feel?” 

Clearly, such social media promotion has worked for Pitzer.

Pitzer
created a new Twitter account (@SustainablePZ) linked to PowerDown. Biggins regularly posts to this account as well as the Claremont Colleges PowerDown/Get
WaterWise and Pitzer College Facebook pages. 

Public relations efforts have also been taken to
Instagram under the name Claremont Energy Challenge (@claremontenergychallenge).
Natalie Camrud SC ’17, a company intern, is in charge of the
Instagram account. She agrees that PowerDown advertisements could be improved. 

“I feel sometimes that environmental
issues are not as big of a deal here at Scripps as other issues are,” Camrud said. “We never
win the competition.”

To combat such apathy, students are encouraged to sign the online PowerDown pledge. While the pledge does not require any specific changes, it reaffirms a personal dedication to improving energy and water intake. 

“It’s the small things,” Ng said.

Despite the increased efforts on campus, students may not change their habits. Camrud feels no need to do so, for example, because she is already environmentally conscious in her day-to-day living. 

“I already don’t dry my clothes or use cold water,” she said. “I also unplug my power strip every day, but I hope [PowerDown] makes other people think about what they are doing when they leave their rooms. It’s about making habits for the long run.”

The PowerDown Challenge will conclude Sunday, Mar. 8. The online PowerDown pledge can be accessed at https://powerdown.wufoo.com/forms/pledge-form/

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