Sustainable Resolutions

CapU Works kicks off new year with 30 Day Energy Challenge

Greta Kooy, News Editor
Photos provided by Chantelle Cardin

CapU Works’ 30 Day Energy Challenge is putting Capilano University to the test this month, asking faculty, staff and students to participate in a series of sustainability-minded pledges and challenges. CapU Works, a university program that “promotes sustainability by students, for students and with students,” began launched on Jan. 14, which will run until Feb. 8.

The 30 Day Energy Challenge, part of a larger BC Hydro sustainability initiative, is a month full of events, challenges and prizes set to different energy smart themes. “The 30 Day Energy Challenge is essentially just a campaign to promote energy conservation and teach students different ways that they can make a difference at home and on campus,” said Chantelle Cardin, a CapU student in the Tourism Management program and student coordinator with CapU Works.

Cardin joined forces with three other CapU Works student organizers to turn what was originally two separate events into a full, month-long campaign. “I’ve always been interested in doing environmental work, it’s always been a big passion of mine. I just thought this would be perfect,” she said.

“Each week we have a pledge that [students] can do,” Cardin explained. In the month’s second week, the “Water Wise Challenge” encouraged students to wash their clothes in cold water and take shorter showers. The third week asked for participants to “Close the Circuit” by unplugging phone chargers.

“For me,” said Cardin, “before I worked for CapU Works, a lot of [this] stuff I didn’t consider as much, but now it’s very eye-opening. We just want that education to be available for students,” she said. “We get caught up in thinking that we’re just one person and it’s not going to make a difference, but it does. It makes a huge difference.”

Events take place in the CSU Members Centre located in the Library building. Students, staff and passersby are enticed with information tables, food, prizes and games of Kahoot! With the energy challenge we also have a photo contest,” said Cardin. “Each week for the pledges that we’ve asked, we’ve also asked people to take a photo and send it to us.” Prizes are awarded each week for the best photo corresponding with that week’s assigned challenge, with a final prize at the end of the month for the best photo from the entire month.

The final week of the 30 Day Energy Challenge runs from Feb. 4-8. The “Keep the Heat Challenge” week promotes energy conservation by encouraging students to wear extra layers instead of turning the dial up on the thermostat and includes a sweater swap event. The final week also ties into the University’s annual Sweater Day. “For Sweater Day,” said Cardin, “we’ll actually be getting facilities to turn the heat down by two degrees.”

Only four student employees work for CapU Works, which has organized events like last semester’s Winter Market, and Sustainability Week, which is coming up in March. On a campus like CapU’s, it can be difficult to attract a large audience willing to stay and participate in activities – something many organizations are aware of when hosting events. Despite this, the Winter Market had a turnout of over 400 people and even smaller events hosted by the group saw crowds of at least 50.

“We always try to focus on the positive side of sustainability, but with our current climate… it is very stressful,” said Cardin. “It’s good to provide these events and opportunities for students to learn a bit more about the differences that they can make.”

For those interested in checking out or participating in the challenges hosted by CapU Works, students are encouraged to visit the CapU Works Facebook page to learn about the schedule of events and activities. Updates can also be found on the organization’s Instagram page, @capusustainability.


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