In an effort to promote sustainability and environmental consciousness, Lawrence is taking on two projects this term, The Small House Challenge and RecycleMania. The Small House Challenge encourages students living in small campus houses to reduce their consumption of natural gas through incentives and competition. Lawrence chose to focus on reducing natural gas consumption, instead of other utilities, because measuring electricity and water consumption in some places on campus is difficult. The challenge, facilitated by Greg Griffin, director of the Warch Campus Center, is modeled on a program at Beloit College, a program in which students living in small residences receive money when their consumption of energy decreases and pay the college money when their energy consumption increases. Unlike Beloit College, however, Lawrence’s program is voluntary, does not offer cash incentives, and threatens no monetary consequences. So far, six campus houses have volunteered to take part in the three-month program that will compare the houses’ natural gas use to data from previous years. Griffin elaborated on the details of the program, saying, “The energy used will be adjusted for degree heating days” in case this year’s winter is colder than past winters. If the houses save natural gas, the money saved will be returned to the houses in the form of additional program money for spring term. As an added incentive, Green Roots, Lawrence’s sustainable energy initiative, will double the amount of money returned for the house that saves the most natural gas. The Small House Challenge will help each participating residence throughout the three months by providing them with ongoing feedback about energy usage, offering tips about how to reduce energy consumption, and advertising each house’s participation so that the Lawrence community is aware of the energy saving initiative. RecycleMania is an effort to increase recycling on college campuses, with the goal of making students aware of the magnitude of their consumption and inspiring students to consume less. Brittany Oleson, co-president of Greenfire, Lawrence’s environmental protection club, reports Lawrence’s progress to RecycleMania’s international headquarters. Oleson monitors the progress by contacting Waste Management weekly to record the weights of trash and recyclables Lawrence disposes. Oleson said she believes that marketing the initiative as an international contest will excite students and faculty and inspire them to save the school money and resources by being more aware of the waste that they produce. Oleson urged students to take immediate action. “Bring a mug to the café instead of getting paper cups,” she advised. She also encouraged students to “take reusable shopping bags instead of getting plastic or paper sacks, get a reusable take-out container for the café instead of using the nonrecyclable disposables they offer, ask for real silverware and bowls if you’re dining in at the café, print less and always print double sided, and purchase fewer individually wrapped items.” For students interested in becoming more involved in campus- wide initiatives like these, Griffin suggests visiting the Green Roots Web site, and Oleson recommends stopping by a Greenfire meeting, which are held weekly in the Sabin House at 9 p.m.