Kill-A-Watt: A Campaign to Increase Energy Efficiency on the Columbia University Campus

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tricking People into Caring

I was on the check out line at the grocery store yesterday when I noticed the "Special Green Issue" of Vanity Fair on the shelf. After thumbing through it, I decided to get the magazine for inspiration.

The issue contains profiles ranging from conservative CEOs to libral activists, all of whom are environmentally conscious. It also includes a brochure titled "What You Can Do: 50 Ways to Help Save the Planet". There are even segments about Earth friendly products right next to the standard Gucci ads. The whole thing made save energy seem like a very posh thing to do.

It made me think of the different ways that one can pitch a conservation campaign. A large part of our campaign has been figuring out how to convince the greatest number of students to listen to what we're saying. I've been focusing on providing useful information to students who already have an interest in conserving energy for whatever reason.

Shavanna has been devising ways to convince more students more care about saving energy. Her idea is to implement a program in which a student's housing lottery number is affected by the amount of power she uses in her dorm room. This is a great way to make students realize that the energy they use affects their everyday life. We need to carry the idea farther and market energy conservation in different ways to different people. We cannot just really on students who care about the environment, we need to start to appeal to the more personal reasons for participating in our campaign.

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