Cal Poly pays $4.4 million in electricity bills annually. Green Campus is promoting the Turn Em Out campaign to get students to turn off items that use electricity when not being used. "What we're trying to do is focus on a different aspect of sustainability to make students aware," Green Program public relations intern Jenny Michelfelder said. Courtesy Photo

Make sure to “Turn Em Out” to support Cal Poly’s Green Campus November Awareness month. Turn Em Out is an awareness campaign, promoted by Green Campus, encouraging students to turn out their lights and other electric appliances when they are not in use to help reduce Cal Poly and its students’ carbon footprints.

Green Campus is a group of students who work together to promote positive sustainable habits for Cal Poly’s campus. This year, Green Campus decided to have a separate awareness campaign each month that focus upon sustainable issues that can be improved on.

“It’s a new thing we’re trying out; it is a monthly awareness program,” said Green Program public relations intern Jenny Michelfelder. “What we’re trying to do is focus on a different aspect of sustainability to make students aware.”

According to the group, Cal Poly’s electricity bill costs $4.4 million dollars annually. Turn Em Out hopes to bring this problem to students’ attention to help Cal Poly save money and help the environment.

“The point is to get people to think about it,” said business administration junior Brett Edwards, otherwise known as “Mr. Eco.” “To get people to think about turning out the lights, it’s the simplest thing you can do, and it makes a difference when a campus or community comes together to do it.”

To help promote this awareness to students, the team of the Green Campus Program plans to send printable flyers that can be posted next to light switches, as a reminder to students turn off the lights.

Edwards said he also plans to do in-class talks to help raise awareness for the cause and set up a booth in the University Union on Nov. 10 or Nov. 17.

According to Edwards, Green Campus and Mr. Eco will possibly work in alliance with Campus Dining to advertise in places such as the Sandwich Factory and Vista Grande through the televisions mounted on the walls.

“We’ll hopefully get some materials for students to see in more aspects of their lifes to get the message across more,” Edwards said.

Turn Em Out awareness month will also hold a competition for students and faculty, who can submit a photo of themselves creatively switching off lights.

Students who win the contest will receive an Amazon gift card or a Mr./Ms. Eco T-shirt, and faculty members will receive a pumpkin pie party and power strips to use in their office to easily turn off electrical items that aren’t being used.

Human behavior is a large contributor to the high use of electricity on Cal Poly’s campus, Dennis Elliot, the assistant director of energy, utilities and sustainability, said.

“We found that, by getting people to voluntary turn off lights, printers, computers and things they were not using, we could reduce it by one watt,” Elliot said.

Elliot said through reducing electricity use on campus, students can help the school reduce utility costs, and with the current budget crisis, the school is doing everything it can to save money, and it helps reduce Cal Poly’s carbon footprint.

Turn Em Out was created to address the current electricity problem on campus. It was inspired by Mr. Eco’s music video parody of rapper T.I.’s song “Bring Em Out,” which encourages students to use less electricity.

The video is filmed at different locations on Cal Poly’s campus, with appearances by people such as President Armstrong, Associated Students, Inc. president Kiyana Tabrizi and men’s soccer coach Paul Holocher.

“Turn Em Out isn’t a very glamorous event to host, but hopefully if students see the music video and Mr. Eco turning out the lights, hopefully they’ll get inspired and have some fun with (it),” Edwards said.

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