A simple flip of the switch can save a whole lot of energy.
That’s the idea behind “Rosen Knights Turn Off the Lights,” an initiative of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management created by second-year Entrepreneurship student Zac Lee.
Lee’s concept—light switch-plate decals with a written reminder to conserve electricity—earned him the Green Initiative Scholarship, a $1,000 award for the best student idea to save money and make the Rosen campus more environmentally-friendly.
Lee’s idea became a reality this month, when nearly 400 stickers were added to light-switch covers across the Rosen campus, including locations in classrooms, offices, restrooms and the fitness center.
“It’s an awesome feeling to see something that started in my apartment being implemented over an entire campus,” Lee said.
Lee said his idea for the scholarship stemmed from a system he’d already begun at his off-campus apartment. In order to save on utility costs, Lee taped little signs over electronics and light switches in his apartment to remind himself and his roommates to turn off items not in use.
“For the first time, we didn’t go over our utility cap, so when I saw the competition, I decided to enter my idea about putting reminders on all of the light switches,” said Lee.
The Green Initiative Scholarship was a collaboration of Rosen College Dean Abraham Pizam and the Student Government Association Scholarship Committee.
To earn the scholarship, UCF students were challenged last year to come up with an idea to “green” the Rosen campus. The proposal had to include actionable steps to implement the plan, a budget breakout and an estimated saving of resources and finances.
In addition to the scholarship, the Rosen College last year participated in a campus-wide competition to reduce its consumption of water, electricity and natural gas.
Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to make an online pledge to adjust their behaviors through small steps such as taking the stairs and unplugging electronics not in use.
The overall results of the challenge exceeded goals and led to more than $30,000 in savings. The college recorded 10 percent savings in electricity, 25 percent savings in water and 20 percent savings in gas for the spring 2011 semester.
“Green” efforts continue this spring at UCF’s main campus and the Rosen College.
The Department of Sustainability & Energy Management and UCF Housing are sponsoring the Kill-A-Watt competition, an energy-saving contest among residence halls that includes the Rosen College Apartments.
The competition provides students with guidance on how to use energy more efficiently and awards scholarships to students who take big steps in reducing their personal energy consumptions.
Resident assistants also can compete to be UCF’s “Greenest RA.” The title and a semester’s worth of free campus dining are awarded annually to one student who does an outstanding job promoting sustainability to his or her residents.