A Cool Challenge

Don your sweaters if you attend or work at Selkirk College in Castlegar or Nelson, B.C.

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Two female students are wearing warm layers of clothes and are holding a sign that says

These two students are supporting Selkirk College in the BC Cool Campus Challenge. As the sign says, "A sweater is better," especially when you turn the thermostat down a few degrees. — Photo courtesy Selkirk College

When communities and citizens pull together by pulling on sweaters, we can make a difference.

Last fall when FortisBC asked us to turn our thermostats down to conserve natural gas because of an Enbridge-owned ruptured pipeline, citizens donned their dickies and put on their pullovers. We used 10 per cent less natural gas in November as a result of our concerted efforts, according to Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO of FortisBC.

Now Selkirk College students and staff are seeking to lower their environmental footprint by participating in the BC Cool Campus Challenge. This province-wide initiative to promote energy conservation extends over the heating season, and three Selkirk campuses are participating—the main Castlegar campus, and Silver King and Tenth Street in Nelson.

Sweater Days are the name of the game. But Selkirk College is already ahead of the game. This year’s Sweater Days in February will be its third annual occurrence.

“By reducing natural gas use, we can reduce our climate impact and demonstrate climate leadership,” said Laura Nessman, Selkirk’s sustainability co-ordinator.

The Selkirk College community will go to the college’s website to sign a pledge and participate in saving energy. Besides turning down your thermostat, other ways to lower your carbon footprint are to take shorter showers and wash clothes in cold water.

The winner of the BC Cool Campus Challenge will be the institution that collects the most online pledges from students, staff and faculty.

Besides bragging rights, the winner will receive a branded sweater or warm clothing item from each of the participating institutions and then will donate the clothing to a local charitable organization to keep more people warm.

Virginia Rasch

Virginia is a writer and copy editor with Koocanusa Publications. She is an avid outdoor recreationist in all seasons and has lived in the Kootenays for 10 years. With degrees in the natural sciences, she has worked as a tour guide, an environmentalist, a writer, and a copy editor of scientific publications. Virginia now brings her passion for everything green to Kootenay Business. View all of Virginia Rasch’s articles

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