York’s eight undergraduate residences race to zero

Over the month of March, students living in York’s undergraduate eight residences will compete in the Res Race to Zero challenge to reduce their carbon footprint. The challenge, which starts today, will see students working to reduce their individual and collective carbon footprints by reducing their energy consumption.

Each residence has a baseline average weekly kilowatt usage per student, based on data from March 2008. Students will do their best to reduce this figure by taking a number of steps that are as simple as flicking the off switch in their rooms before they leave for classes in the morning. Other measures include turning off televisions in house lounges when not in use, making sure they turn off extra task lighting in their residence rooms and putting their computers into sleep mode. To help build awareness of the challenge and to provide guidance to residences on how to reduce energy consumption, a residence environmental ambassador has been appointed in each building. They are Melissa Asatoori-Cusano, Bethune Residence; Natalia Weiss, Calumet Residence; Alix Jolicoeur, Founders Residence; Kristin Brown, Pond Road Residence; Adella Kudzai Chimbindi, Stong Residence; James Marzotto, Tatham Hall Residence; Molly Moreash, Vanier Residence; and Zachary Flavelle, Winters Residence.


Right: The eight undergraduate residence environmental ambassadors take a moment with a Res Race to Zero poster

“I’m excited about the Res Race to Zero, not for the competition, but because it promotes awareness and challenges us as a community to make a conscious lifestyle change,” said Flavelle.

Each week, the residence with the largest percentage energy reduction will be awarded $500. The residence with the overall cumulative largest percentage reduction will receive $1,000. The money will be spent to enhance sustainability in the residence, at York or in the world.

The Res Race to Zero was created as part of the Yorkwise program by Campus Services & Business Operations, Student Community & Leadership Development and Marketing & Communications, in order to build awareness of students’ carbon footprints and create positive change in behaviour. Yorkwise is a University-wide initiative to support sustainability and quality of life on campus. The Res Race to Zero complements York’s five-year energy plan which includes a $40 million investment to reduce consumption by 25 per cent. Additionally, any savings will be invested in improvement of quality of life of residence students on campus.

To find out more about the challenge and weekly winners, visit the Res Race to Zero Web site.