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CCS, Slivka res colleges find it easy to be green

Patrick St. Michel

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Dara Wathanapaisal, president of the Residential College of Cultural and Community Studies, said she has noticed a change in her dorm’s residents since the Students for Ecological and Environmental Development’s Green Cup competition.

“People always turn off lights,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “It’s a reflex now.”

This instinctive conservation helped CCS win the first Green Cup, SEED announced Monday. CCS took top honors in the category of dorm without an attached dining hall, while fellow residential college Slivka won for building with a dining hall or cafe attached.

The Green Cup, which pitted dorm against dorm to see which could conserve the most energy and water, was held from April 10 to 24. CCS and Slivka will be treated to a pizza and ice cream party sponsored by Lou Malnati’s and Ben and Jerry’s for winning the competition.

SEED Co-Chair Tommy Sunderland said the two-week competition went very well and that he saw a lot of student interest in the environmental event.

“It was really great when we held an energy-saving light bulb giveaway,” the Weinberg junior said. “It was a big success.”

Sunderland said some students had the wrong idea about the competition’s actual intent.

“Some students thought it was a ploy by Northwestern to cut down on energy costs,” he said.

Looking ahead to future conservation contests, the SEED co-chair hopes to include fraternities and sororities in the next competition, and he’s certain the Green Cup will be back.

CCS and Slivka were this year’s undisputed conservation champs, but CCS might possess ultimate bragging rights, having easily surpassed Shepard in its category.

Wathanapaisal said it wasn’t too difficult to get her dorm residents revved up for the contest.

“We kept morale up,” she said. “Everyone seemed enthusiastic, even when someone had to do homework in the dark.”

Wathanapaisal worked to increase her dorm’s odds of winning by posting flyers that reminded students to turn off lights, and she even talked with individual residents about conserving water and energy.

In addition to encouraging her residents to reduce their use of electricity and water, Slivka President Gillian Hsieh also spearheaded green-geared events such as playing flashlight tag.

“(These events) helped get people motivated,” the Weinberg junior said.

In the end, Slivka was even willing to withstand ripe wardrobes to out-conserve Willard Residential College en route to capturing the Green Cup title.

“We were so into winning,” Hsieh said. “Some people didn’t even do laundry over the two weeks.”

Slivka’s president said she expects her residents to continue their environmentally conscience ways.

“I hope we continue to conserve,” she said. “At least after the initial laundry rush.”

Reach Patrick St. Michel at

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