In January, Northwest Earth Institute kicked off its first-ever Campus EcoChallenge, which drew 400 participants from 30 campus teams this past semester! Throughout the semester, students and staff teamed up to make an impact, choosing new sustainable actions such as conserving water, reducing waste or curbing CO2 emissions. Similar to NWEI’s annual October EcoChallenge, participants commited to making lifestyle changes that increase sustainability and improve the environment.
The new Clark Atlanta University Sustainability Council participated, with CAU Sustainability Coordinator Felicia Davis leading her team. Felicia noted that “Overall, CAU Panthers consumed 27 meatless meals and saved 348 gallons of water. Clark Atlanta University is also the first and only historically black institution to participate in the EcoChallenge. The activities were fun and crafted to demonstrate how small changes can make a big difference. Five minute showers and meatless meals were popular selections for CAU students, and CAU made it into the top 10 campus teams.”
University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse joined the Campus EcoChallenge with 70 students participating on two teams as part of an Intro to Environmental Studies class. Professor Alysa Remsburg shared, “It was exciting to see how my students learned from reading each others’ updates on the Team Feed. The Campus EcoChallenge made a wide variety of actions seem more possible to them as they heard about peers trying them out.”
George Fox University, who helped to spearhead the Campus EcoChallenge, joined with five teams and 97 students. Paige Parry, Assistant Professor of Biology and EcoChallenge team leader shared, “My students have really been gaining a lot from the EcoChallenge. It has come up quite a bit in class discussions and its been a great way for my students to connect the environmental problems they are learning about in class with some tangible, achievable solutions.”
Faculty at Texas Christian University and University of Puget Sound also used the Campus EcoChallenge in their classes this semseter – in conjunction with NWEI course books. TCU student Rhonda Chambers said, “Thanks to NWEI for creating this EcoChallenge and encouraging us all to make baby steps toward lasting changes which protect our environment! Even after this semester is over, I’m committed to maintain and improve my own personal habits concerning environmental protection.”
Collectively, Campus EcoChallengers diverted 5,842 plastic bottles and over 2,500 disposable cups from landfills this semester. They conserved over 162,000 gallons of water, and ate over 2,600 meatless meals and 395 zero waste meals. They also saved 4,040 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. You can check out the collective impact here!
*Want to join Campus EcoChallenge in future, or know someone who might? We’ll be offering it each fall and spring semester moving forward. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit campus.ecochallenge.org.