Although the Water Conservation Challenge has formally ended, The Occidental Weekly would like to remind students that water scarcity in California has not. With this year’s campus-wide theme and initiative being water and with California being in a state of extreme drought, it is imperative that all members of the Occidental community continue to incorporate water conservation practices into their daily lives.
The second Water Conservation Challenge, in which residential halls competed against one another to decrease the percentage of total water usage on campus residential halls, began with a plea to students to not cheat by increasing water consumption in other buildings.
While it seems as if we should commend the student body for not cheating this time, as adults and college students at an environmentally conscious school, cheating should not have been an issue in the first place. The whole point of the Conservation Challenge is to reduce water usage, and if students go to other halls to turn on the faucets and showers in order to “win,” it undermines the overarching goal.
We do, however, commend students for the reducing even further the volum of water consumption overall compared to the first challenge. Decreasing water usage not only reduces the amount of water that is consumed but also has positive externalities such as lowering energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It is also reassuring to see that Occidental is taking part in the effort by reducing its plant irrigation volume by 50 percent and switching to more efficient water spouts.
It is our hope that the challenge has served to introduce students to conservation practices – such as taking shorter showers, running more full loads of laundry and reporting leaky faucets to facilities – that can ultimately become campus-wide habits. We encourage students and faculty to extend their water consumption reduction practices to non-residential buildings as well. Despite the end of the challenge and the downpour that passed through the city over the past weekend, it is our duty to continue the effort of reducing water usage to increase sustainability.
This editorial represents the collective opinion of The Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the editorial board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental community.