It’s getting hot in here, so a few campus groups are coming together to fight global warming by competing in an MTV-hosted competition for environmental sustainability.
CalPIRG, a statewide student organization that wants to increase public interest in environmental issues, is collaborating this year with the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board, the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, the Office of Sustainability and the Green Campus Council to compete in the Campus Climate Challenge. The groups hope to win recognition as one of five schools MTV will pick as champions of energy efficiency.
Garo Manjikian, campus organizer for CalPIRG, said the Campus Climate Challenge is a nationwide competition where students work on their campus to stop global warming
“Everyone’s talking about global warming,” Manjikian said. “We have the technology to stop global warming.”
MTV will award the five schools – selected on the basis of which generate the most media coverage for global warming solutions – compensation up to $10,000 and the chance to be featured in an MTV segment. The television network will also give recognition to two schools that achieve 100 percent clean energy policy during the upcoming spring.
CalPIRG is planning to host educational events such as a “clean car show” – where the organization brings hybrid and electric vehicles to campus – and “Take the Stairs Day,” as well as encouraging students to bike to school rather than drive, Manjikian said.
“Our focus is whatever we can do to reduce our campus carbon dioxide emissions … whether it’s by making buildings energy efficient or educating students on how they can reduce their impact,” Manjikian said.
Fourth-year global studies major Kelly Burns, who is an intern at Green Campus Council and an EAB officer, said all environmental groups on campus have formed an alliance to save energy, including the GCC.
Burns said the Green Team, which is part of GCC, created a program called the Green Scheme to make the MultiCultural Center an Energy Star-certified building. The Green Scheme will focus on three components: waste and recycling, energy and procurement.
“The Green Scheme is a pilot project happening within Associated Students and the MultiCultural Center,” Burns said. “We chose that building because of the eagerness of the people involved and their dedication to sustainability.”
Katie Maynard, coordinator of the Office of Sustainability and a UCSB alumnus, said the GCC also regularly tracks the types of products A.S. and the MultiCultural Center buy to evaluate whether they are energy-efficient, and also monitors energy use in the dorms by holding annual energy competitions.
Within the next two weeks, Burns said the GCC will go door-to-door in the dorms to exchange regular light bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Maynard said the Office of Sustainability is working to make buildings on campus certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
“UCSB as a whole is very dedicated toward having a more sustainable campus and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Maynard said. “We’re operating in a way today that will also give back to future generations. We would not be here today if it had not been for our incredible student efforts.”