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Sustainability Cup aims to educate through friendly competition

Student government, Notre Dame Energy and the Office of Sustainability have collaborated for the relaunch of the Sustainability Cup, a competition across all 32 Notre Dame residence halls that aims to educate students on the importance of sustainability. The cup, along with Energy Week, started Sept. 12 and will run till Oct. 7.

The Sustainability Cup offers various sustainability-related events, and points are given to halls based on their participation and attendance. The events were held in conjunction with Energy Week. At the end of the competition, each hall’s points will be counted and ranked.

“There’s competition, and you want to beat the other dorms, so that seems to be driving more people to the events, which is great,” student government’s director of sustainability Nick Albrinck said. 

The cup is an annual event, but this is the first year that it is being run by the student government. 

“To get the most engagement [and] the most communications out effectively, the collaboration between different campus entities is really important,” Albrinck said.

ND Energy Education and Outreach associate program director Anne Berges Pillai said being able to connect with student government and the Office of Sustainability is a big deal because they both have big audiences.

“Having it be student-led gets more momentum and interest from students,” Anna Balas, the program manager for outreach, education and engagement at the Office of Sustainability, said.

Albrinck, Berges Pillai and Balas worked together since spring to coordinate the competition.

The cup kicked off with a “Weigh the Waste Night” at South and North Dining Hall, students discarded their food scraps into bins before putting away their dishes. Each night, the dining hall collects students’ food waste, packages it and sends it to an off-campus location to be converted into energy.

“That day, we did it in front of the students. It helped to show them the process,” sophomore Madison Clancy said. Clancy was one of the volunteers at the waste collection tables at North Dining Hall. 

Throughout the cup, students have had the opportunity to attend a sustainability career expo, lectures and discussions that aim to spread awareness of various sustainability efforts the University is involved in. 

“We’ve had a lot of participation, honestly, more than I thought,” Albrinck said. “It’s been fun for me to count all the points and be like ‘Wow, there’s so many people that do these things.’”

Some final points in the cup can be earned through completing a survey and quiz and by attending the “Sign of the Times” event on Oct. 7 at McNeill Library in Geddes Hall. The survey and quiz close on Oct. 7 as well.

More information can be found on the student government website.

“I’m hoping that we can get the students to become more and more involved and engaged and care more beyond words,” Berges Pillai said.

Contact Kendelle Hung-Ino at khungino@nd.edu

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