Bemidji State to hold “Do It In the Dark” energy savings competition for residence halls

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Students for the Environment at Bemidji State University will be holding an energy consumption competition for both on-campus and off-campus students throughout the month of November. Residence halls will be involved in direct competition with one another to reduce per-capita energy consumption

Each residence hall on campus is individually metered, and a per-resident energy usage total for October has been established as a baseline. The halls will compete to see which one can reduce its per-resident energy usage the most by the end of November.

“This idea was started by Students for the Environment, and a residence hall competition like this was also on my agenda when I came to Bemidji State,” said Erika Bailey-Johnson, University sustainability coordinator. “We’ve ordered t-shirts, gotten out with educational pieces and have been at information tables to basically gather individual pledges to reduce energy consumption for November.”

Students who live off campus can participate in a separate competition to reduce consumption. Students who sign up for the competition can bring in their October utility bills and have their usage totals recorded, then return in November to show their reduction. The grand prize in the off-campus competition is a one-month rent subsidy worth up to $300.

“The informational efforts by Students for the Environment has helped students gather a lot of tips on what they can to do reduce their energy consumption,” Bailey-Johnson said. “For instance, a lot of people don’t realize that things like electronic devices continue to draw some small amounts of electricity even when they’re turned off.”

An award ceremony for the on-campus competition will be held in early December, with the winning residence hall to be presented with a custom constructed trophy of a large light switch in the “off” position. Major incentives for the competition could be determined by the amount of energy savings realized by the competition, Bailey-Johnson said.

“This sort of competition has never been done here before,” Bailey-Johnson said. “Other campuses have done it and had a lot of success. We’re hoping the same thing will happen here.”

For more information about the initiative, please contact Bailey-Johnson at (218) 755-2560 or via e-mail at, or Students for the Environment at