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P.O.W.E.R Challenge

The 14th annual POWER Challenge will run October 1st through October 28th.


The Make Orange Green POWER Challenge is a way for the UT community to demonstrate its commitment to reducing the university’s environmental impact. The POWER Challenge is a month-long competition that puts UT residence halls against each other in a battle to see which hall is the greenest.


POWER stands for Programs of Water, Energy, and Recycling


How we Calculate the Data

Since some residence halls are bigger than others, the last week in September we take a baseline data of the energy and water each residence hall uses, as well as weigh the recycling. From there we calculate the same data each week and compare how it changed week to week.

This ensures that the size of the residence hall, or the age does not play a factor in calculating the points.

The Residence Hall that reduces the most amount of energy from the previous week gets 100 points, second place gets 90, and so on. The same goes for water calculations. For recycling, the hall that increases in recycling will receive 100 points, 2nd place gets 90 points, and so on.

How to Gain Points

Residence Hall standings will be released each Tuesday of the week. In order for points to count for that week, they must be sent in by Monday at 10AM. All final submission must be submitted by Monday, October 29th. In every email, be sure to include your residence hall somewhere within the email.

In addition to the usage points we calculate, there are eight other ways to receive points for your residence hall.

60 Points, plus 5 points for additional 5 people in attendance after the first 15 people.
  • Description: Residence halls events/programs are meant to be interactive and responsive and promote environmental education. All events must be zero waste.
  • Ideas: planting event, documentary screening, clothing swap, schedule a Recycling Talk
  • Reporting: email, include the sign in sheet, pictures from the event, and a brief event description

30 points, plus 5 points for additional 3 people in attendance after the first 10 people

5 points per attendee, plus 30 points for residence hall with highest percentage in attendance
  • Reporting: make sure you sign in for your residence hall at each event to receive your points. Feel free to take pictures of your self at the event and send them to, but that’s not necessary.

30 points per RA who posts door decorations on residence doors
  • Description: RAs are encouraged to make sustainability themed door decorations for their residents. You will only get the points once, so making new one’s each week won’t get you any extra points- and we don’t want to waste paper!
  • Ideas: Make them out of scrap paper or recyclable items! Or include sustainable tips/facts on each decoration. Be creative!
  • Reporting: Take a picture of at least one of the door decoration and send it to

15 points per board, up to 60 points (one per week)
  • Description: Boards must be educational and have an environmentally focused theme. Use recycled paper if possible
  • Ideas:  UT Public Drop Off, tips on how to reduce energy in every day life, information on the ways to get involved, calendar events for the month
  • Reporting: Send a picture of each bulletin to

10 points per flyer design
  • Description: Educational flyers are worth 10 points per flyer design, not amount displayed. These are not meant to promote the POWER Challenge, but to provide educational information for residents
  • Ideas: : Flyers in the bathroom about reducing shower times, turning off water while shaving or brushing your teeth, instructional/informational flyers about waste and recycling in the trash room, or tips for laundry like air drying and using cold water
  • Reporting: Send a picture of each flyer to

2 points per half hour of service, ex: 1 hour is 4 points
  • Description: Community service is an important part of sustainability which is why we include volunteering as a part of the POWER Challenge. Any community service project completed during the challenge may be recorded by RAs, Hall Directors, and residents
  • Ideas: Visit our Volunteering page, as well as the Leadership and Service calendar
  • Reporting: Send a picture of you at the event, as well as the volunteer sign in sheet you signed in to

1 point per following
  •  Description: Every resident who follows us throughout the month on our various social media outlets will receive a point for each outlet (total of 3 points)
  • Reporting: Students must show their RA they are following us, then RA writes down each student and where they followed, email to each week

5 points per ride

  • Description: Every resident who uses a Pace Bike throughout the month will receive 5 points for their residence hall. If it’s your first time using Pace, use the promo code ‘UTLOVESBIKES” to receive $10 in ride credits
  • Ideas: The Greenway is a great place to bike. Additionally I Bike Knx has numerous biking resources.
  • Reporting: Take a picture of yourself on the bike and use the hashtag “#PacePOWER”. Additionally, email the photo to

Last Years Result

Last year, Massey won with over 2700 points, Fred Brown came in second with 1592 points, and Hess was third with 925 points. Massey’s win was well deserved, as throughout the month they had 12 events, nearly 100 pledges, 70 flyers, several door decorations, and more.

Some highlights of the month include an event put on by Massey where residents used old t-shirts and water bottles to create a self-watering plant, and an event where residents used old t-shirts and upcycled them into keychains. Stokely Hall put on a t-shirt swap event, which gave them the opportunity to switch out something they would no longer use for something they would use. All of the extra shirts were donated to Good-Will.

To see pictures from the event view the Facebook Album.

Tips on How to Live Sustainability

  1. Know what to set your thermostat to
    • Fall weather on Rocky Top can change from day to day, however if it’s nice outside, turn off your thermostat and open your windows
    • If you need to use the AC, try to keep it above 73 for maximum efficiency
    • If you need to use the heat, try to keep it below 70 degrees for maximum efficiency
    • Bonus Tip:If it’s cold out, instead of turning up the heat add on another layer of clothing, and if its warm out change into something lighter
  2. Unplug all unused electronics
    • Did you know items left plugged in to an outlet on standby use up to 85% of the energy they would use if turned off? This energy is known as vampire energy
    • Studies have found that vampire energy loads account for 5 to 10 percent of the total electricity in residential homes and accounts for about 1 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions
    • Bonus tip: Get a power strip to plug in all major electronics to easily fully shut them all down at once
  3. Turn off all lights when not in use
    • Whenever you leave your room, be sure to shut off and unplug all lights
    • Take advantage of natural light, open blinds when it’s light outside
  4. Keep your door closed
    • When heating and cooling are running, keeping the door closed will look in hot and cold air, saving money and energy
  5. Make your laundry more efficient
    • Dryers are one of the biggest energy users on college campuses, use a drying rack instead
    • If you do need to use a dryer, make sure to check it periodically to remove any items that have dried
    • Wash one large load, rather than multiple smaller ones
    • Use cold water, as 90% of the energy used in washing a load of laundry is just for heating up the water


  1. Try to cut your shower time
    • A four minute shower uses about 20 to 40 gallons of water
    • Shortening showers by just one minute can save 550 gallons per year
  2. Report leaking items as soon as you see them
    • The average home loses 11,000 gallons of water per year from leaks
    • If you live on campus call the Facilities Service On-Call (865-946-7777) whenever you see something leaking/broken in your residence hall.
  3. Know how much water you’re eating
    • 1 gallon of gas = 13 gallons of water
    • 1 hamburger = 634 gallons of water
    • 1 plastic water bottle = 100 gallons of water

  1.  Use a reusable coffee mug/water bottle
    • Take advantage of the Mug Project
    • Use one of the over 170 water bottle refill stations, which have helped to divert over 7 billion water bottles from the landfil
    • Did you know the average coffee drinker throws away 250 cups per year? That adds up to 58 billion nation wide
  2. Refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle
    • Refuse: don’t accept freebies and junk like swag, junk mail, receipts, and single-use bags
    • Reduce: limit the amount of stuff you have. Evaluate what you really need and donate, sell, or recycle things you don’t. You may even find you can reduce your living space
    • Reuse: most single-use items like water bottles and plastic bags have reusable alternatives. Think about what you throw away most often and what reusable items could replace those disposable ones
    • Recycle: the goals in this system is not to recycle more, but to recycle the waste you do recycle.
  3. Compost
    • If you live on campus check out where you can compost:
      Morrill, Carrick N&S, Reese Loading dock at Morrill facing Orange and White
      Fred Brown On loading dock on the PCB side
      Vol Hall and Laurel At Vol Hall in the trash enclosure accessible through the parking garage on James Agee side of the building
      Stokely By the trash compactors in between Stokely and the parking garage on the ground level
      Clement The bins behind Raising Canes
      Hess and Massey At the International House, at the bottom parking lot by the trash dumpster, or Hodges Library, to the left of the dumpster at the loading dock off Melrose Ave
  4. Have items not accepted in Residence Halls? Use the Public Drop Off!
    • Located at 2121 Stephenson Dr, Dock 26, the Public Drop Off is open 24/7
    • They take nearly everything the can be recycled, check out the guide here: What We Recycle

Other Questions?

If you have another question that is not listed here, email Carolyn Brown at