Danielsen Wins BU’s First Energy Competition


From left to right: Dheandra Jack, RHA President; Valerie Aw, RA; Monica Martin, RHA Vice President; Rachel MacDonald, RHA Treasurer

The residents of Danielsen Hall are the champions of the first ever energy competition at Boston University! Their dedicated effort to energy efficiency during the months of September and October resulted in an impressive 15% energy reduction compared to the same two-month period last year.

Student Government (SG) announced the inter-dormitory competition last fall in an attempt to see which residential area could reduce their energy use the most. Student Government’s Director of Environmental Affairs, Danielle Elefritz explained how SG came up with the idea.

“The energy challenge was Student Government’s way of teaming up with sustainability@BU to encourage the reduction of energy use by students. The challenge, in which the dorm with the largest reduction from previous years wins a pizza party, provided a fun way to foster awareness among the student body and to educate them on the simple ways to make a huge impact on our campus-wide carbon footprint.”

To spread the word initially, the LEED Gold dedication ceremony at 100 Bay State Road seemed like the right scene. To draw attendees to the event, SG kept the details a mystery, sending a number of ambiguous tweets throughout the day about a surprise event happening that evening. Several signs were placed along Comm. Ave. to attract pedestrians to the event. Even Dean Elmore was recruited to help. The competition received coverage in the Daily Free Press and was also communicated to residents through the Residence Hall Association (RHA).

Elefritz said that energy reduction is a priority for SG because of the threat of climate change.

“As students at an internationally renowned institution we should take a stand to make these simple and positive changes to our everyday lives as well as set a precedent for other universities to follow.”

Based on the results of the competition, it seems like the rest of the campus agrees. It wasn’t just Danielsen that showed a noticeable reduction, many other residences on campus put up significant numbers as well.

“I said at my first house meeting: Turn off lights before you leave. Try not to use a ton of water.” – Illene Gillespie, Graduate Student RA, Lower Bay State Road

energy reduction graph
Danielsen residents were rewarded for their achievement with a pizza party in the basement of the building where they shared some of the strategies that lead to such a successful reduction.

“I believe our students were very mindful about their electricity consumption and remembered that turning off the lights when they were out is one very simple way to save energy and not waste power. Opening the blinds on a sunny day instead of turning on the light is also a very simple way students have saved power,” said Danielsen’s RHA Vice President, Monica Martin. She also believes that the residents have continued these behaviors even though the competition is over.


Danielsen residents gather for a pizza party to celebrate winning the energy challenge.

“Energy costs money. Just because I don’t have to pay for it doesn’t mean I should waste it.” – David Meyer, Danielsen Resident

Some of the other energy-saving suggestions shared by residents include unplugging fully charged laptops, using energy efficient light bulbs, and turning down the heat before leaving for class.

“I believe the energy competition to be a huge success, more than I would have ever imagined to be honest,” said Elefritz, “It is definitely something that I would like coordinate with sustainability@BU on again for next year, hopefully starting a tradition which will grow bigger and produce greater change and awareness each year.”

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