Students might have more of an incentive to lower their carbon footprint if they were given cash prizes of $10,000. America’s Greenest Campus competition is doing just that.
America’s Greenest Campus is a nationwide competition sponsored by the organization Climate Change to get students, faculty and staff from universities across the U.S. to become more aware of their impact on the environment.
Total prize money will near $20,000. The first tier of the competition will end Friday online at americasgreenestcampus.com to see which university can get the most people to sign up throughout the week. The prize will be $500 to be used toward a party or festival to celebrate sustainability. ASUCD’s Campus Center for the Environment (CCE) is leading the competition for UC Davis.
“I’d like to think that UC Davis is a leader in environmental sustainability practices and awareness,” said Will Klein, current co-director for the CCE. “This is a good way to get our name out there and show that we are still leading the way.”
If students sign up between now and Friday, the process only taking roughly five minutes, they will also be entered into a random drawing for a cash prize, Klein said.
Other components of the competition include a $5,000 prize with the school that has the most people to sign up by Oct. 5. Another $5,000 prize will be awarded to the university with the most carbon reduction by Oct. 5. The third tier includes a video competition, with the reward totaling of $10,000.
“The idea [of the competition] is that if you see that your actions have an affect on the overall carbon level, you can then change that by changing your individual behavior,” said Klein, also next year’s unit director for CCE. “If you can see that other people are doing this with you, you can feel much more powered knowing that you’re not in it by yourself.”
This money could aid UCD’s environmental projects and bring awareness to the importance of maintaining a low carbon footprint.
“There are a lot of students that have a lot of great ideas, but not enough funding,” Klein said. “We would give [the prize money] all back to students who can implement these sustainable practices.”
Lauren Jabusch, a co-director for CCE, emphasized changing the little things for an overall larger impact.
“It’s good to know what everyone’s impact is and use that as a benchmark. Just look for little ways that you can cut back, not exactly big changes or steps – look to make conscious decisions instead of unconscious about the environment,” Jabusch said.
The website asks the participant questions regarding current factors that may contribute to your carbon footprint such as the size of one’s home, modes of transportation or computer usage. After signing up, participants can browse the site for other ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Carbon isn’t really a top factor in our daily decision making. We don’t think about the impact of emissions, or if we buy something it doesn’t directly need carbon, but the process to make it does,” Klein said.
Jessica Bray of CCE reduces her footprint by maintaining a vegetarian diet, shopping at local places with local produce, such as the Davis Food Co-op or Davis Farmers Market, and primarily using her bike or public transit.
“UC Davis can learn new practices to adopt to lower our carbon footprint. As learners of the world the competition should make students, faculty and staff more aware of sustainability on American college campuses,” Bray said in an e-mail.
CCE will be tabling on the Quad throughout this week till Friday, the end of the $500 prize portion of the competition. To sign up, visit for americasgreenestcampus.com.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at email@example.com.