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campus scene

Sovereignty after the Soviets
Prof. Kate Graney on Russian federalism
Expert opinion: Home audio with Jill  Linz
Faculty farewells Linke, Mensing, Partha, Miller
Art, work, and chance Raffle-ticket creativity
Plugging into "Unplugged" Dorms compete to save energy
Teammates from abroad Sports as universal language
Kids of Survival on view Vandals or Van Goghs?
Faculty honored with endowed chairs Anzalone, Brueggemann, Leavitt, O'Brien, Pfitzer, Sattler
Scholarly smorgasbord Talking ecophobia, Crackberries, and Eros
Sportswrap Winter sports highlights

Plugging into “Unplugged”

With all eight residence halls signed up for an energy-conservation contest last fall, sustainability coordinator Erica Fuller went to Deb Hall’s design course for help in promoting the “Skidmore Unplugged” effort. Citing a “student-driven learning environment, where Deb offers guidance but gives students creative space,” Fuller says she was impressed with the students’ creation of a Web site for tracking electricity usage, a Captain Kill-A-Watt costume, and posters and stickers that were “innovative and fun.”

Meanwhile, students in John Galt’s sculpture class were also busy—creating a 3-foot-high trophy. It will remain on display in Case Center, with the names of winning dorms engraved on its plaque as the contests continue in coming years. Depicting a futuristic lightbulb emerging from an outdated version, the sculpture is made of metals, glass, electric plugs, and an old engine piston. Galt lauded his students’ design and its “lasting impact on the Skidmore community.”

During the contest, 10 student “eco-reps” urged dormmates to turn off unused appliances, swapped hundreds of compact fluorescent lightbulbs for less-efficient incandescents, and conducted in-room electricity-use audits. A crucial prerequisite was the installation, recently completed by Skidmore’s facilities services, of separate electric meters for each residence hall. And with the Unplugged Web site displaying percentages of reduction, contestants could easily track each res hall’s progress. (Of course, some faced tougher going than others—for example, the nine-story Jonsson Tower saw no real savings in elevator use.)

In the end, it was Howe-Rounds that triumphed. The conscientious residents received downtown store coupons and other prizes, thanks to a donation from former Harder Professor John Settel, who also supported the purchase of 800 compact fluorescents. And forevermore “Howe-Rounds” will stand first in the list of winners on that grand trophy. —DF, SR