San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

PowerSave invigorates change

Students meet in PowerSave

The integration of sustainable practices into modern society is a goal many organizations share throughout the nation, and San Diego State is no exception. One particular group helping the university achieve this goal is the SDSU PowerSave Campus program.

The PowerSave Campus program was created by Alliance to Save Energy — a national nonprofit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders that focus on energy efficiency — in an effort to empower college students to be the future leaders of energy efficiency.  The program employs more than 75 college interns on 16 different university campuses in California.

Geography department undergraduate adviser, internship coordinator and SDSU PowerSave faculty adviser Diana Richardson became involved with the team in 2011.

“I like the fact that PowerSave has affiliations with the larger energy industry so that they can provide a very strong voice for energy conservation,” Richardson said. “They’re very creative and innovative.  They really seem to thrive off of each other’s energy.”

Richardson said PowerSave Campus has saved SDSU about 1.2 million kilowatt hours of energy through their projects since 2012. That’s equivalent to about $187,000.

The SDSU PowerSave team consists of six student interns that work to improve energy efficiency on campus.  They meet twice a week to identify potential projects and get closer to finishing current projects both on campus and off campus.

One of their current projects is preparing to compete in Campus Conservation Nationals 2015, a worldwide competition to reduce electricity and water use at  colleges.

“Our campus is focusing on Maya and Olmeca,” psychology senior and PowerSave Treasurer Kayla DeLucia said. “We’re having a competition between those two halls to see which one can save the most energy and water. I’ve been recording the energy data in this program called BuildingOS, and it kind of just tracks their energy usage. This is just the baseline right now.”

The three-week competition will start April 6.  PowerSave will be tabling, posting flyers, and using prizes to give students an incentive to actively participate.

Assistant Director of the SDSU facilities department Tom Abram helps PowerSave with their projects on a regular basis, including Campus Conservation Nationals.

“I’ve been helping them get the metering established, making sure that they have access to all the data that they need and providing some guidance and suggestions on how to succeed,” Abram said. “(PowerSave is a) great opportunity for students to get hands on experience.  There are a lot of things that you can learn in class, but being able to have so much experience with actual projects and understanding energy systems — it’s really beneficial.”

PowerSave is also putting on an educational event for the students at first-generation college student after-school program Barrio Logan College Institute on April 30.  The group has different strategies in place to reach out to elementary school, middle school and high school  students.

Sustainability sophomore and project coordinator Ali Yost described the “energy hog,” a tool the team will use to teach elementary school students about energy conservation.

“It’s a pig mascot kind of thing (that will teach them) about not wasting energy — vampire electronics kinds of things and LED lights, simple things that they can implement in their own house,” Yost said.

International security and conflict resolution sophomore and team manager Stephanie Hernandez is particularly enthusiastic about another project called ECOalition, a forum she created that she hopes will come together this April to help keep students informed of the sustainable changes they can make on campus.

“I’m trying to get all the sustainability leaders from all the organizations to come together in a forum and just talk about how we can work together and become more informed of each other’s resources, each other’s programs and projects,” Hernandez said.

One thing that construction engineering freshman and secretary Maisia Fang likes about being a part of PowerSave is talking to students on campus.  Her involvement in the Bike Brunch event at this year’s GreenFest was a highlight of her experience with PowerSave so far.

“That was really fun because it was my first time going out there on campus and trying to inform people about how to save energy,” Fang said. “It was really cool being behind the table having people come up to us.”

The SDSU PowerSave Campus program hopes to bring on new paid, for-credit and volunteer interns in the coming year. Hernandez said it’s important for the team to maintain a variety of student interests.

“It’s fun to be on such a small team,” she said. “This program in general has helped us see each others’ views and perspectives. It’s really interesting how we’re all different, yet we can all work together on one thing on campus.”


About the Contributor
Olivia Litsey
Olivia Litsey, Arts & Lifestyle Editor
Olivia Litsey is a sophomore at SDSU and an economics pre-major with an honors minor in interdisciplinary studies.  She started writing for The Daily Aztec in 2013 and is currently assistant features editor for the features section.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
PowerSave invigorates change