With two, year-long competitions—the 2012-2013 inter-House Green Cup and New inter-Yard Green Goblet—well underway, the undergraduate community is abuzz with sustainability and competition. The Green Cup competition, in its tenth year of being run by the Resource Efficiency Program (REP), launched with a Recycling Quiz participation contest.
74% of Cabot House residents took REP’s recycling quiz, putting them in an early lead for the 2013 Green Cup. Leverett House was a close second at 70% participation. Overall, 1700 or 34% of all upperclassmen took the quiz, providing a strong start for this year’s competition. In the most successful houses, the REP reps got staff, masters, tutors, and fellow students to promote the pledge to the house, making the sustainability contest a truly community-building event.
Isabella Wechsler ’13, the Cabot REP, said of the participation contest: “The fact that everyone- the students, the housemasters, the tutors, the building and dining hall staff- has been so supportive makes it much more meaningful.“
The participation contest continues with the Sustainability Pledge, which is already underway. The Pledge, perhaps the most comprehensive of REP campaigns, outlines actions students can take related to energy, food, waste, water, and participation to reduce their environmental footprint in the Houses and dorms. Notably, the Pledge is also the launch of the new Green Goblet competition among the four freshman Yards. Wechsler remarked on the power of the pledge, saying:
I think the Sustainability Pledge offers this wonderful mix of individual empowerment and community solidarity. It's extremely hard to deal with large-scale problems like resource scarcity if you don't feel like you can have any significant impact. You actually can make a difference though, and the Sustainability Pledge is just a small nudge to point out the daily decisions you make that add up over the span of your lifetime. It’s incredibly rewarding to see so many people committed to making a change and to realize you're clearly not alone in your efforts!
Needless to say, Wechsler and the Cabot House community will employ many of the same contest-winning strategies for the Pledge as they did to win the Recycling Quiz contest. Other houses will have to rally together and get truly innovative to keep up with Cabot, the top-seeded house.