The Rice University EcoReps recently hosted the sixth annual Green Dorm Initiative (GDI), a three-week campus-wide competition that encouraged Rice students to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Each day student participants were presented with a new daily challenge, along with background information to explain the environmental benefits of a change in habits related to that challenge. Each week of the competition also featured a week-long challenge. Prizes were awarded based on either participation or performance.
"This year for GDI 2016, we decided to use a lottery system for weekly prizes,” said Lindsy Pang, Co-Head EcoRep. “We believe it encouraged a more collaborative effort towards learning about sustainability. It was definitely exciting to see more people remain active and interested in the green challenges through the entire three weeks."
The first week (Feb. 1-6) focused on “Water and Energy.” Daily topics included natural lighting, water use, vampire power, carbon footprint, and biking/walking. The week-long challenge encouraged participants to shower under four minutes today. Each of the following 11 participants won a free tour of the underground steam tunnels and Jones College’s Solar Roof: Rebekah Bryant (Baker), Rachel Drazner (Brown), Victoria Johnson (Duncan), Ben Baldazo (Hanszen), Hannah Chen (Jones), Emma Livingston (Lovett), Amanda Cervantes (Martel), Nick Killian (McMurtry), Claire Weddle (Sid Rich), Rachel Ngo (Wiess), Carlos Hernandez (Will Rice).
The second week (Feb. 8-13) focused on “Wellness.” Daily topics included unsafe chemicals in products, local food and the Rice Farmer's Market, getting outside, building community, and vegetarianism. The week-long challenge encouraged participants to cut back on their red meat consumption. Each of the following 11 participants won a free picnic by Harris Gully with Rice University leaders, catered by Local Foods: Maria Lima (Baker), Abigail Cartwright (Brown), Ash Balkum (Duncan), Brian Walker (Hanszen), Kathleen Francis (Jones), Akin Bruce (Lovett), Lydia Dick (Martel), Kyle Chow (McMurtry), Wesley Chou (Sid Rich), Margaret Lie (Wiess), Dixita Viswanath (Will Rice).
The third and final week (Feb. 15-20) focused on “Waste.” Daily topics included food waste, recycling, not using disposable water bottles, electronic waste, and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The week-long challenge encouraged participants to not send anything to the landfill. Each of the following 11 participants won a free sustainable cooking lesson, featuring food from the Farmer's Market: Victor Gonzalez (Baker), Kyra Lasota (Brown), Michael Donatti (Duncan), Brenda Zhou (Hanszen), Sarah Tseggay (Jones), Mitch Mackowiak (Lovett), Dylan Dickens (Martel), Ella Matsuda (McMurtry), David Cirillo (Sid Rich), Margaret Lie (Wiess), Lauren Wood (Will Rice).
Winners of performance-based prizes will be announced soon. These prizes include lunch at the Cohen House for winners of the social media competition, a cinnamon roll party for students at the top-performing college, and tea and cookies with Rice University first lady Y. Ping Sun for the top overall scorers across the entire competition.