Rules and Guidelines

Weekly Themes

Each week has a theme that we encourage RAs to focus on throughout the challenge. These won’t affect scores, but rather are meant to aid in brainstorming for programming and messaging throughout the challenge.

Week 1:  Water
Week 2:  Sustainability
Week 3:  Energy
Week 4:  Recycling

Program and Point Descriptions

Water usage, electricity usage, and recycling data will be collected from each hall each week.  Halls will be compared to their own performance from week to week, taking into consideration the number of residents in each hall and any accompanying amenities like POD Markets or other influencing factors. They will then be ranked best to worst based on their performance in each of the three categories, and awarded points respectively.  For example, the hall that has the best improvement in their water usage compared to the previous week will earn 100 points and the hall with the least improvement (or worse, a negative change!) will only earn 10 points. This goes for each of the three categories.

It is important to note that while these points do add up, you should be relying more on participation points (everything below!) if your hall is in it to win it. The more active your hall is, the more points you earn, and the more engaged your hall will be in reducing water, energy, and landfill waste (which inevitably leads to better performance in this area week to week!).

Each pledge is worth 3 points. These can be collected however you want – at an event or on a banner or in a spreadsheet, etc.  Get creative!  You can compound your efforts into more points by including these in your programming.  

These should be submitted by an RA or Hall Director. In order for these points to be counted, an image of the pledges (whether it’s a poster, form, or special sign-in sheet) needs to be sent to sustainability@utk.edu.

Community service is an important part of sustainability which is why we include volunteering as a part of the POWER Challenge. Participating in any community service project during the challenge will earn 5 points per person. Check out our calendar for a list of opportunities! If you find other opportunities, be sure to take them – our calendar is in no way exhaustive.  

These may be submitted by RAs, Hall Directors, and residents. In order for these points to be counted, evidence must be sent along to sustainability@utk.edu. Single participants in service projects can send along a photo. Groups of participants from a single residence hall should submit photos and a sign-in sheet (or submit their points individually).

Participating in environmentally-related campus events, lectures, or tours can add to your hall’s point totals! Attendance earns 5 points per person per event.  You can represent your hall in a group or by going on your own. Check out our calendar for a list of opportunities! If you find other opportunities, be sure to take them – our calendar is in no way exhaustive.

These points can be submitted by RAs, Hall Directors, and residents. In order for these points to be counted, evidence must be sent along to sustainability@utk.edu. Single participants in campus events, lectures, and tours can send along a photo. Groups of participants from a single residence hall should submit photos and a sign-in sheet (or submit their points individually).

Educational flyers are worth 10 points per design (not flyers posted!) – and they don’t have to be designed by RAs!  They aren’t meant to promote the POWER Challenge, but rather provide educational information for residents.  An example might be a flyer in the bathroom about reducing shower times and turning off water while shaving/brushing your teeth.  

These can be submitted by RAs, Hall Directors, or residents. In order for these points to be counted, a photo of the flyer hanging up must be sent along to sustainability@utk.edu.

Environmentally-themed bulletin boards are each worth 15 points. Bulletin boards must be educational and thematic, so have fun and great creative!  

These should be submitted by an RA. In order for these points to be counted, a photo of the bulletin board must be sent along to sustainability@utk.edu.

Environmentally-themed residence hall programs will receive 60 points per program plus 3 points per attendee. In order for a program to be considered a Residence Hall program, each floor must be represented by at least one resident. Hall programs are meant to be interactive and promote environmental education (you can use the week’s theme for inspiration!). 

These should be submitted by an RA or Hall Director. In order for these points to be counted, photos of the program and scanned/photographed sign-in sheets must be sent along to sustainability@utk.edu.

Floor programs will receive 30 points per program plus 3 points per attendee. Floor programs must be interactive and educational in order to receive points. 

These should be submitted by an RA or Hall Director. In order for these points to be counted, photos of the program and scanned/photographed sign-in sheets must be sent along to sustainability@utk.edu.

Ways to Reduce Water, Energy, and Waste

Cut shower time.
Don’t let water run when brushing teeth, shaving, or washing dishes.
Only do laundry when you have a full load.
Don’t use the toilet as a trashcan! Every time you flush, you’re wasting 5 gallons of water (on a standard toilet). Only flush when you should!
Keep drinking water in the fridge – running the faucet to wait for it to cool wastes water that could have otherwise been saved by thinking ahead!
Turn off electronics when they are not in use.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room, and take advantage of natural light.
Take the stairs! It’s good for you heart and it saves energy as opposed to taking the elevator.
Minimize your use of hot water by taking cooler showers, washing your laundry in cold water (or at least rinsing it in cold water!). It takes energy to heat it up!
Hang your clothes to dry, or at the very least put like items together in the dryer (similar items dry faster together, which saves you time in the dryer, thus energy!).
Be aware of energy vampires – phone chargers, game consoles, televisions, computers, etc. – all of these use energy when they are “off.” You can change the settings or unplug them to avoid this extra drain. Check out this Facilities Services video for more information.
The 5 Rs of Recycling: refuse (only take what you need), reduce (cut down on your consumption where you can), reuse (using objects or materials again, whether for their original purpose or a creative one!), recycle (this one pretty much speaks for itself, but for a list of things you can recycle on campus, follow this link), and rot (don’t just throw away your food, compost it)!
Take advantage of The Mug Project – which saves you money as well as reduces your waste. Check out this Facilities Services video for more information.
Be aware of how much waste you accrue over a week – check out this awesome BuzzFeed video for perspective!