By Brittany McMillen ’22
Austin College students are currently competing in the twelfth annual AC Unplugged energy savings competition. The goal of the competition is to teach good energy use habits and to educate students on the environmental impact of high energy consumption.
AC Unplugged has been a campus tradition for over a decade, beginning in 2010 as a way to encourage a reduction in campus emissions. Since then, the competition has raised over $10,000 for local and national charity organizations and saved more than 97,000 kilowatt hours of electricity between the four residence halls: Caruth, Clyce, Dean and Baker.
Over the years, the Grayson Crisis Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Grayson County, the Texoma Health Clinic, and the Grayson County chapter of Habitat for Humanity have received a large portion of the money donated after being selected by the halls’ popular vote, with the most money being donated by the winning hall each year.
The theme for this year’s competition celebrates a classic pop ensemble as it encourages students to “spice up their lives” by saving energy. The Spice Girls theme for the 2021 year was selected to encourage campus residents to try new ways to have fun that don’t involve using electricity. In the final week of the competition, Caruth Hall is leading the way with a nearly 30 percent reduction in energy use compared to the baseline.
AC’s traditional residence halls have already saved more than 30,000 kWh in this year’s contest – a new record. Students have participated in an outdoor game night and a hot sauce eating competition, painted terracotta pots for spice planting, and, this week, are strutting their stuff in a thrifty Spice Girl Lookalike contest. What are you doing to reduce your energy use?