Two all-time EcoMadness records, the most volunteer Eco-Captains we’ve had in the past five years, and a lot of UConn Dairy Bar ice cream wrapped up UConn’s 8th annual, world-famous EcoMadness Competition! Congratulations to Troy/Shakespeare, Grange/Hicks, Buckley, and Chandler/Lancaster, winners in each of the four coveted award categories during this one-month, inter-dorm, energy and water conservation competition!
A big shout out to residents of Grange/Hicks, who set an all-time EcoMadness record for water conservation with an incredible 17.9 gallons of water used per student over the course of the competition, earning a resounding first place in this category! That’s just over half the gallons used per day, per student by most previous EcoMadness winners in this category and about a quarter of the daily water consumption for the average college student in the U.S.! Sprague/EcoHouse (East) and Russell (Northwest) claimed 2nd and 3rd place in the water usage per student category. Sprague also broke the previous EcoMadness record.
In the overall per capita rate of water reduction category, Sprague held onto first place through most of the competition, with Terry (Northwest), Alsop (West), and Troy/Shakespeare (West) following closely behind. However, in the final week of the competition, Troy/Shakespeare (West) overtook the competition, leaving EcoHouse out of a first place finish in any of the four EcoMadness categories for the first time in five years. Tory/Shakespeare claimed first place with an outstanding 20% reduction.
In the energy reduction category, Buckley, the first-year Honors program dorm in East, surged from second place to first in the last week, finishing with an impressive 23% energy use reduction, also a new EcoMadness record! A pair of Buckley Eco-Captains created an Honors Eco Tie Dye event to raise awareness and team spirit. They focused their tie-dye discussion on simple ways to conserve resources in their daily lives — given their record energy-saving results, must have succeeded. Chandler/Lancaster (West) took first place in the energy usage per student category with 3.23 kWh of energy used per student.
Needless to say, in this the 8th annual EcoMadness competition, the 2014 winners have raised the bar! Compared to EcoMadness 2013, the winners particularly excelled in two categories:
- Energy use – reduction from 6.4% (2013) to 23% (2014)
- Per capita water use – from 31.9 gallons per student (2013) to 17.9 gallons per student (2014)
These impressive reductions can be explained by a number of factors, the most important of which was increased collaboration and student leadership. This year, the Office of Environmental Policy focused more on meeting directly with area councils and residence assistants to help spread the word. Additionally, more students got involved as Eco-Captains this year than in the previous 4 or 5 years, helping to boost awareness and friendly competition among their fellow student residents.
Looking back eight years ago, during the first EcoMadness, only seven dorms from South campus were included in the competition. With a 6% reduction in energy and water computation, their results seem feeble compared to the over 20% reductions seen in recent years. It was not until 2007, when the competition expanded to 23 dorms, including Northwest, Towers, and Shippee, that Eco-Captains became part of the event. The effects of the Eco-Captains could be seen in 2008 when the energy and water reduction increased to 10%. Since then, percentage reductions have been on the rise. The dramatic increases in energy and water reductions over the years reflect Eco-Captain involvement, proving the importance of peer-to-peer student engagement and leadership.
Thank you to student Eco-Captains: Haley Brennan, Emily Napear, Haris Qureshi, Adrianna Antigiovanni, Benjamin Breslau, Kassra Farahbakhshian, Kimberly Armstrong, Esther Kim, Joan Bosma, Miranda Squillace, Brianna Costello, and Christopher Tan! Without your support, hard work, leadership and passion during the competition, EcoMadness would not have been as successful. All of you were outstanding!
Although the competition is over, continue to keep up the great work and remember to continue conserving water and energy! To the four winners, congratulations again and we hope you enjoyed your ice cream party – check out scenes from a few of the parties below! You should all be very proud of yourselves for demonstrating excellent conservation and sustainable lifestyle practices. Great job, everybody!