Rams Unplug: Journalism students promote sustainability on campus

Is your phone charger sitting at home plugged into the wall right now? Yeah, so is mine.

Forty percent of all electricity is used to power electronics that are off or not connected, according to statistics provided by the Rams Unplug campaign.

Five Colorado State University journalism students, Brian Waugh, Julia Adams, Pamela Shapiro, Erica Grasmick and Lucy Skrobacz, have come up with a plan to help CSU reduce its carbon footprint.

Rams Unplug is an awareness campaign designed to initiate better electricity conservation habits on campus.

“This campaign really focuses around unplugging,” Waugh said. “All of us kind of shared the compassion for sustainability and it seemed like something a lot of CSU students can relate to, especially with us being a green school.”

(Graphic by Julia Adams)

CSU set goals to become carbon neutral by 2050 through the Climate Action Plan — every carbon emission the University releases will be counteracted, recycled or reused somehow. Rams Unplug is one of the many steps the University is taking to achieve this.

Tom Milligan, vice president of external relations at CSU, guided the group of five students in a public relations workshop as they created the campaign.

“It’s thoughtful, it’s well designed and I think they’ve done great work here,” Milligan said. “It’ll give this group of students some professional level work they can be proud of, and to demonstrate that they have real skills.”

Electricity use accounts for the largest portion of CSU’s carbon footprint. By practicing sustainable habits, a large amount of electronic waste can be controlled. The campaign is encouraging students to limit electronic waste at CSU and practice unplugging cords when they are not in use.

“We’re trying to focus in on those first-year students so that they can hopefully build those habits and take them, whether they live on campus next year or off campus,” Skrobacz said.

Waugh said he has learned a lot about electricity use that he never would have known before the project.

“We’re not the experts on this topic by any means,” Waugh said. “We just found something that we want to promote, that would be good for CSU.”

This article was published in The Collegian November 10, 2015.


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