Kill-a-Watt concludes, but supporters hope effects will continue

Students and faculty welcomed in the new year by once again taking part in Calvin’s annual Kill-A-Watt environmental awareness program during January.

Throughout campus, members of many different organizations and disciplines jointly studied, discussed and evaluated important themes of ecological stewardship and conservation.

Becki Levad, who is the interim assistant dean of residence life and also supervises the sustainability coordinators, expressed joy and excitement at seeing the entire Calvin campus unite during the events to explore a wide variety of environmental issues.

“It was inspiring to see so many people engaging in Kill-A-Watt this year,” she said. “Everyone pitched in! President Le Roy gave the kickoff address, several faculty and staff members gave lectures in hall basements…All of the residence hall leaders contributed, especially the sustainability coordinators and intern!”

Other organizations also got involved, including DCM, campus ministries, the community garden team, and the campus sustainability groups such as Calvin Energy Recovery Fund (CERF), Outdoor Recreation/Creation Care (ORCC) living-learning floor and Environmental Stewardship Coalition (ESC).

At the pinnacle of of all these environmental activities, however, was the inter-dorm competition which encouraged students to develop habits modeled around stewardship of the earth’s resources.

Beets-Veenstra (BV) won the 2014 overall competition with 3,563 points and Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reken (KHvR) followed with 3,395, although they earned the award for lowest energy consumption among the on-campus residences.

According to Levad, however, each one of the dorms was actively involved with the sponsored Kill-A-Watt events available around campus.

“This year, 590 students completed the DREAM certification, which is a room sustainability check-up of sorts, and 650 students opted to take on one or more ‘lifestyle challenges,’ like not eating meat or unplugging their mini-fridge for a month,” she reported.

All these efforts fit well into Calvin’s published statement regarding the importance of environmental stewardship as a spiritual discipline for Christians:

“Sustainable living is the daily working out of the stewardship mandate. We seek to live as part of the natural world in ways that mirror the care and love God has for the creation. To live in a sustainable fashion means our daily activities will be conducted in such a manner that they do not seriously jeopardize, but instead promote, the wellbeing of other people, other species and the ability of future generations of all creatures to flourish.”

Peter Cahill, sustainability coordinator in KHvR, describes the promotion of this as the mission of his leadership position at Calvin even after the Kill-A-Watt program concluded.

“Sadly, there are still many people who are unaware of the importance of the environment, and these people are less likely to go out of their way to learn how to save the planet,” he stated. “We are still trying to find ways to reach more people and discover opportunities for people to get involved with being environmentally sustainable.”

Sustainability Coordinator Jenna Van Bruggen agrees with this importance of maintaining and continuing to pursue the spirit of Kill-A-Watt beyond January.

“It is really exciting to see the enthusiasm that many of my peers share for being sustainable,” she exclaimed, “but I hope that we can keep encouraging people to be sustainable and love the earth throughout the year as well.”