The University of Washington is participating in the Campus Conservation Nationals, a competition to conserve energy and water on campus this month. The competition is part of a gamification trend -- using game mechanics to engage people to achieve non-game goals. UW views it as education outside the classroom, a catalyst that will change how students think about their lifestyles.
It's a contest between colleges, but at UW the students in three buildings are competing against each other and that's the focus of the piece. It's not a story about a winner or a prize, or even the energy they save -- it's a story about trying something innovative to set UW students on a path to living sustainably. One expert says the change won't stick but suggests ways to improve it.
There are noisy events, excited students, and interviews with the UW staff organizer and ACEEE cultural anthropologist Susan Mazur-Stomman, who specializes in energy and behavior change.