The UNM Residence Hall Association wants to find the greenest dorm.

To do so, they have conducted an almost month-long competition to see which dorm can reduce its energy consumption the most. The competition encourages residents to turn off lights, use the heater less often and cut down on electrical appliances.

The event kicked off during the March 27 Earth Hour celebration, where participants turn off all electricity for an hour. The winner will be announced during today’s Earth Day festivities taking place on the Cornell Mall.

According to the group’s Facebook page, more than 60 residents joined the contest, but Joseph Colbert, Housing Services dean of personnel, said that he saw more students get involved.

“We’ve always tried to get residents to turn off their lights when they leave and to turn down their air conditioner,” he said.
The dorm with the biggest energy decrease will receive an award and be known as UNM’s “greenest dorm.”

The effort to educate students about sustainable practices is an important element of the competition.
“During Earth Day people talk about being more sustainable,” said Grace Martinez, UNM Sustainability Club president. “If residents learn about being more energy efficient they might carry on the practices longer.”

Martinez said she became conscious about her environmental impact at a young age.
“I would tell my friends to cut down on water use and energy use,” she said. “Once they realize it was just a matter of thinking about it and being conscious, it does not seem as inconvenient.”

The Sustainability Club will have a clothing swap set up at their booth during today’s Earth Day Fair. Students who wish to participate can trade any good and washed clothing items. Any clothes not picked up will be donated to the Barrett Foundation.

“A clothing swap is a great way to reduce energy consumption because we are not wasting resources to buy new clothes, and you save money,” Martinez said. “We’ll take anything, but we won’t take undergarments.”