The residents of Palmitas Hall harnessed people power to earn the Bronco Energy Trophy for conserving electricity.
The second annual competition, which ran from Jan. 23 through March 23, pitted Palmitas, Cedritos, Alamitos and Aliso residence halls in a competition to conserve energy and placed the spotlight on sustainability, which is one of the core values at Cal Poly Pomona.
Palmitas Hall was presented with a rotund green trophy made from recycled glass on April 20. The trophy and accompanying bragging rights will stay at Palmitas until the next competition. Residents were encouraged to conserve by turning off lights in empty rooms and unplugging electrical devices not in use.
“We saved even more energy this year,” said Monika Kamboures, the sustainability coordinator in the Department of Facilities Planning & Management. “Beyond that, the important lesson for students is that the power to conserve energy and promote sustainability is, literally, in their hands.”
The four residence halls, which house nearly 800 students, saved a combined 787 kilowatt hours during the month-long competition. The energy savings is enough to fully charge a cell phone 218,786 times.
Kimberly Ramirez, one of the residential advisors at Palmitas, cited a “team effort” by the residence hall in the victorious effort. She said fliers and emails spread the word about the competition, but daily conversations with residents helped reinforce the concept of conservation.
“With how we’re developing technology and advancements, sustainability is a more and more viable option for how we live our daily lives,” said Ramirez, who is a second-year engineering student.” People are becoming more aware of sustainability and how they deal with waste. This is especially true of students, who are always advocating for change and improvements. Conserving energy is one way they can make a direct impact.”
Cedritos Hall won the inaugural Bronco Energy Trophy in 2017. During that competition, 773 kilowatt hours were saved by the residence halls. Ironically, Ramirez was a resident at Cedritos last year and can boast about being a member of two winning residence halls.
The competition also can provides lessons in sustainability for students in other campus housing. In addition to turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and shutting down electronic devices that are not in use, taking shorter showers also can conserve resources.
Issues involving sustainability are part of the discussion in the current campus master planning process. The university’s efforts include a network of solar panels, a reverse-osmosis treatment plant on campus that provides drinking water, a fleet of electric vehicles, the use of drought-tolerant plants in landscaping, a Waste Reduction and Recycling Program, sustainable outdoor trash can liners, and the use of reclaimed water to irrigate landscape and crops.