America's Greenest Campus Contest Underway; U of Maryland Leads

In its first two months, America's Greenest Campus, a nationwide contest in which colleges compete against each other to reduce their carbon footprint, has grown to more than 10,000 individuals and 450 colleges participating to win up to $20,000 in cash prizes. The contest, which launched on March 31 with support from hip-hop mogul and globalGrind.com Editor-in-Chief Russell Simmons, BarelyPolitical.com's Obama Girl, and actor and activist Ed Begley, has, according to organizers, helped spearhead renewed vigor among college students to modify their behavior and find ways to improve the state of the environment and save money.

The contest is sponsored by a partnership between SmartPower, a clean energy and energy efficiency marketing organization, and Climate Culture, an online carbon measurement and reduction utility, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Climate Culture manages the measurement, tracking, and recommendations used in the contest.

Based on the number of students participating, the top-ranked colleges in the first two months of the contest include:
1. University of Maryland – College Park
2. George Mason University
3. Rio Salado College
4. University of California – Davis
5. American University
6. Oberlin College
7. Carnegie Mellon University
8. Stanford University
9. Harvard University
10. Penn State University

Organizers say that in addition to the growth in the number of students, faculty, and alumni signed up for the contest, America’s Greenest Campus has already generated the following reductions:

  • $1.5 million saved
  • 5.9 million lbs of CO2 avoided, the equivalent of taking 500 passenger vehicles off the road or the annual energy use of 250 homes
  • 1.6 million kWh of energy reduced
  • 5.2 million gallons of water saved
  • 39,000 gallons of gasoline saved

"It's inspiring to see the kind of enthusiasm we've seen from the college communities," said Climate Culture CEO Tom Scaramellino. "Our nation's youth has the potential to make a significant impact on climate change through individual sustainable choices, and this contest was set up to help facilitate that."

The contest officially runs until Oct. 5, 2009, and winners will be announced Oct. 12, 2009. America's Greenest Campus can be accessed through Facebook with the Climate Culture Facebook Application, available to all Facebook members at http://apps.facebook.com/climate_culture.

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