Pelican Enter the Green Cup Challenge

February 17th, Loomis Chaffee will be competing in the annual Green Cup Energy Challenge in an effort to raise awareness about energy use on campus. This year, Loomis has set a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by a total of 2% over the four weeks. The 2% decrease may seem insignificant at face value, but this small percentage would mean a decrease of $14,400 per month from the school budget, which can be reallocated to other, more crucial areas of our school. In order to raise awareness and urgency in the pursuit of the Green Cup Challenge’s goals, student environmental proctors are encouraging their dorms and fellow classmates to be more conscious about saving energy, and as an added incentive, the mighty Pelicans will be competing directly with our rival, Choate Rosemary Hall. Although the environmental program at Loomis is encouraging all students to fully participate, some students may choose to ignore the call to action, citing that the event ‘won’t have any long term impact anyway’. Surely, we as a community can put those worries to rest in continuing to be aware of energy use even after the challenge, however the motivation to conserve energy may eventually stop once it ends, and the prizes have been distributed. “The effect may be profound at first, but it’s definitely won’t last long” suggested an anonymous underclassman. Nevertheless, the competition itself has been proven to have incited real, long term benefits. For instance, in 2007, the baseline electricity output was 487,000 kilowatts per month. Today, we only consume 371,478 kilowatts per month; that is a 24% decrease in energy consumption in just 8 short years. The competition also impacts how members of our community consider the necessity of small methods of energy preservation, such as turning off the lights when leaving a room, and unplugging electronics when they aren’t in use. Ms. Hinchman, a physics teacher and the head organizer of the event at Loomis, explains. “I think that participating in the Green Cup challenge allows us to see that your little bit makes a difference because the differences that we make are all about behavioral differences. Do I know that people’s behaviors permanently change? No. Certainly not. Do I believe that the Green Cup challenge changes the behaviors of some of the community? Yes I do. And that little bit is adding up and making a difference.” Perhaps this competition can serve as a starting point for identifying where our school wastes the most energy, and for understanding that small efforts can influence significant environmental changes within our own community, and beyond.