GEO organizes residence hall energy saving contest

From March 1 through April 30, the Residence Hall Energy Saving Contest will challenge students across campus to use less energy in an effort to help alleviate global warming.

The contest is being run by the Geneseo Environmental Organization (GEO), in cooperation with other student organizations including the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and the Inter-Residence Council (IRC), as well as the College's Environmental Task Force.

The winning hall will receive a pizza party from Geneseo's own Mamma Mia's, as well as ice cream afterwards. In addition, GEO president and senior Steve Tuloweicki is working with Vice President Robert Bonfiglio on securing an environmental prize, like lightbulbs that use less electricity per unit time, that would either go to the winning hall or to the campus at large.

Freshman Vincent Cannataro is skeptical about some parts of the contest. "I don't understand why the prize of energy-saving stuff [light bulbs] would go to the winning hall. It should go to the hall that saves the least, not the most. The people in the winning hall already know how to conserve energy." Junior Andrew Reiser remains optimistic about the initiative. "I think the contest is a great idea. The issue of global warming really affects everyone; I'm glad we're trying to do something about it here in Geneseo."

Kirk Spangler, assistant director of facilities and chair of the College's Environmental Task Force, is also excited about the initiative of Geneseo's students. "I feel GEO's proposal supports the committee's efforts in raising consciousness of students in the conservation of energy for both environmental and financial reasons."

While also involved in several smaller initiatives on campus, such as pushes for more recycling in the residence halls and double-sided printing in the computer labs, Tuloweicki said that GEO is looking forward to hosting this campus-wide project.

The idea for the Energy Saving Contest was born in Spring 2006. Members were very interested in investigating what other colleges were doing to help the environment and found that several colleges had thrown their support behind energy-saving contests. Geneseo's contest, however, is not utilizing any one program from another college as a model.

In addition to examining other college-based energy-saving programs, GEO also hosted a New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) representative last semester. NYPIRG is a student activism and training organization founded in 1973 and based in New York City. Its Web site ( offers many energy-saving tips for college students. Student can turn the lights off when they leave a room, turn computers completely off at night, wash full loads of laundry, and take shorter showers in order to quickly and easily use less power every day.

Energy Star, a U.S. government program designed to promote energy efficient products, states that 1.55 lbs. of carbon-dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere for every Kilowatt hour of energy used. Carbon-dioxide is one of the most common greenhouse gases, and most scientists believe it to be a dangerous cause of global warming. Using one Kilowatt hour is equivalent to leaving a laptop computer on for an entire night.

In the next months, GEO plans to coordinate more activities with NRHH and IRC in order to raise awareness of their cause. GEO will be erecting a display in Milne Library by the end of March, and also hopes to host a speaker in the near future to speak on the danger of global warming.