Erin Greenhalgh is leading the charge to a more sustainable future on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus.
Greenhalgh is one of hundreds of CU students, faculty and staff who have joined One Million Acts of Green, a sustainability-based social networking platform that allows users to track and record their efforts to live more sustainable lives.
"Sustainability is important to me because I don't believe people are entitled to any amount of resources they desire," Greenhalgh says.
One Million Acts of Green allows users to calculate how many pounds of greenhouse gases, liters of water and kilowatt hours of electricity they saved with their green acts. Acts range from everyday activities like carrying a reusable water bottle to larger-scale activities like investing in a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
In March, Greenhalgh held the record for more water saved than anyone on campus. Since she created her account on One Million Acts of Green, Greenhalgh's efforts to live sustainably have saved 7,300 gallons of water.
Water conservation is especially important in Colorado, where U.S. Drought Monitor shows that all the state is currently experiencing some level of drought right now.
Greenhalgh says she saved water by making small changes in her routine like turning off the water when she brushes her teeth, using less water when she does the dishes, and taking fewer showers.
"There are many small and easy ways people can be mindful of how much they consume, and making small but constant decreases in resource consumption can make a large positive impact," Greenhalgh says.
Greenhalgh first signed up for One Million Acts of Green as part of the EcoStar Challenge, a competition among all the residence halls on campus to see which hall could reduce its carbon footprint the most.
Greenhalgh is one of the 45 students living in Arnett Hall who has joined One Million Acts of Green to compete in the EcoStar Challenge. Arnett is currently among the three frontrunners in the competition with 10,697 completed Acts of Green and 834,954 pounds of greenhouse gases saved.
At the end of the competition, the three top-ranking residence halls will win prize money to use as they choose.
And residence hall students aren't the only ones who will benefit from using One Million Acts of Green. The platform is now available for ALL UCB faculty, staff, students and alumni too!
For each of the first 1,000 people to sign up for One Million Act of Green after April 1, the Office of Campus Sustainability will put $10 toward campus sustainability projects. Users will even be able help the university choose what types of projects to take on.
Greenhalgh says she will continue to live a sustainable lifestyle after the EcoStar Challenge ends on April 12. She says that if she could recommend one water-saving step that all CU students, faculty and staff can take, it would be to carry a reusable water bottle.
"There is just no need to buy plastic water bottles," Greenhalgh says. "Period. It wastes plastic, and it gets expensive. Using a reusable water bottle is sustainable and perfect for a college budget."