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KNOXVILLE – This week marked the beginning of the sixth annual POWER Challenge for University of Tennessee, Knoxville, student residents. Each week during the month of October, the POWER Challenge presents a different sustainability theme. This week’s focus is recycling, followed by sustainable living, energy conservation, and finally water.

The POWER Challenge (Programs of Water, Energy, and Recycling) is a month-long program where residence halls compete to see which hall can reduce the most waste, conserve the most energy, and promote sustainability on campus. Last year the POWER Challenge diverted two tons of plastic, aluminum, and paper recycling from the trash. Reductions in residence hall energy use also saved UT more than $4,000.

Residence halls are encouraged to create unique student activities and events to generate awareness of sustainable living habits. Individual participants will earn points that go toward their residence hall’s overall tally Previous student-initiated events have included a poster display, a recycling education program, and a lights out event.

Residence hall utility meters were read on Monday and will be read each week of the challenge to monitor energy conservation efforts by students. Following the challenge, the residence hall with the least energy use and highest point tally will win a catered party for their hall and the POWER Challenge trophy for a year.

Students can look forward to a variety of special sustainability-related events in the next few weeks that include the following:

  • Monday – Friday, October 10-14: Sustainability Week, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily on the Pedestrian Walkway, hosted by Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (S.P.E.A.K).
  • Wednesday, October 12: Mug Project giveaway, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the Pedestrian Walkway. UT Recycling will give away 600 high-quality, reusable, USA-manufactured mugs, donated by Eastman Chemical Company. These mugs can be used at campus Volunteer Dining facilities to redeem 99-cent coffee or soda, or a 15 percent discount on specialty coffee beverages.
  • Thursday, October 13: Student light bulb exchange, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at all residence hall lobbies. Current student residents can exchange their incandescent light bulbs for new CFL bulbs at no cost. CFL bulbs use one fifth the energy of incandescent bulbs, and last six to ten times longer.
  • Wednesday, October 26: Black Out Bash, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for National Sustainability Day. Residents are encouraged to turn off their dorm room lights for an hour and visit Presidential Courtyard for some Halloween festivities, including moonlight pumpkin carving. Pumpkin waste will be collected and composted at UT’s composting facility.

Students interested in participating in POWER Challenge events can talk to their RA or visit http://environment.utk.edu/powerchallenge.html for more details. For information on Make Orange Green programs and initiatives, visit http://environment.utk.edu.

C O N T A C T:

Gordie Bennett (865.974.7780, gbennet5@utk.edu)