Students living in Northwestern dormitories have extra motivation to turn off lights and keep showers short, thanks to The 2009 Green Cup Competition.

In its fourth year, the Green Cup hopes to raise awareness about conservation practices through a six-week competition between Northwestern residence halls that begins today and ends March 3.

The majority of points are earned by reducing the most water and energy usage during the competition. Additionally, dorms can earn points with high attendance at “green education” events and speeches.

Senior Laura Christian, co-chair, is happy with the progress of this year’s competition.

“We have made a huge effort to incorporate more events and increase participation and enthusiasm for conservation,” says Christian. “And so far our first meter readings have shown a reduction in utility usage.”

Events include organic dinner in the residence halls, environment-themed trivia night, and expert speakers including Jeremy Friedman, the New York University sustainability coordinator.

Organized by the student groups Students for Ecological and Environmental Outreach, Engineers for a Sustainable World and Environmental Campus Outreach, the goal of Green Cup is to continue conservation practices long after the competition ends.

“We want to create long-term change in student’s habits,” explains Christian. “Our hope is to help students lead a ‘greener’ lifestyle.”

Suggested conservation tips include: unplugging electronics when not in use, washing clothing in cold water, taking shorter, less hot showers and turning off the faucet when brushing teeth.

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