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Pomona College Wins the Claremont Colleges Power Down Challenge

Laundry rack

Students can use laundry racks to avoid using clothes dryers.

Pomona College has won the 2010 Claremont Colleges Power Down Challenge, reducing its dorm electricity use an average 10.5% reduction, edging out Harvey Mudd College, which had a 10.2% decrease.

The Claremont Colleges Power Down Challenge ran through the month of November. Utility bills were received in early January, and the results were announced last week after students returned from winter break.

The Oldenborg Center had the largest energy savings of any Pomona residence hall, saving a whopping 23.4%. Overall, however, HMC's West Dorm won the individual dorm competition with a 24.6% reduction.

For having the biggest reduction on the Pomona campus, residents of Oldenborg won a Donut Man party and the opportunity to decide which campus sustainability project they will fund with $6,000 provided through the Pomona College President’s Office and the Office of Facilities and Campus Services.

Among the contending projects are the expansion of the campus compost program, additional bikes and biking equipment for Green Bikes, and the installation of a "hydration station" for filling reusable water bottles.

Other leading energy reducers on the Pomona campus include Harwood Court, which came in second with -19.8%, followed by Norton-Clark III with -19.2% and Mudd-Blaisdell-Gibson with -6.9%.

As part of the Power Down Challenge, 177 Pomona students signed “No Impact” pledges, which required them to completely unplug their room from the grid for one week. Laura Carr, Pomona Class of 2013, was one of those making the pledge, and she wrote about her experience for the College’s website

“No-Impact Week wasn't as difficult as I had expected it to be,” said Carr. “Initially I checked the box on the pledge with some trepidation, but it was fairly easy adapting to the constraints of the pledge -- and definitely a learning experience.” She said the most fun aspect was using flashlights and that turning lights off before bed was more relaxing and less stressful. The most difficult aspect was “learning to anticipate and plan the course of my day: packing up my backpack while it was still light so I could head up to the library, doing what work I could during daylight hours, etc.”

For full results of the Challenge, please visit our sustainability website.