The hall that’s able to conserve the most water will win a pizza party, and $1,000 to donate to a local nonprofit organization, said Genes. There are about 600 students participating in the contest.

The contest is being organized by the Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Campus, a student group, UC Merced sustainability leaders, Engineers for a Sustainable World, another student group, and Aquacue Inc.

“The competition has been good,” said Martin Figueroa, a junior at UC Merced, who’s part of Green Campus. “Now the question is, how do we increase our visibility and awareness?”

Students are using social media, such as Facebook, to motivate students about the contest.

To reach more students, outreach efforts have to go beyond social media. “There’s only so much you can do online,” said Jared Calinisan, a UC Merced junior involved in organizing the contest.

Calinisan said he also has gone around talking to student groups on campus. He’s been sharing tips with students to help get them into the habit of saving water, “for them to establish a water conservation culture,” he said.

Figueroa said they will go to each dormitory, especially the ones that are using the most water, and share water-saving techniques with the student residents.

Jasmine McClain, a junior at UC Merced helping with the effort, said the water-saving habits that students will form can continue later in their lives. “If they practice this now, it will become a natural habit for them,” she said.

The campus is already saving water, thanks to technology that alerts facility maintenance workers to places that are using a lot of water or where there could be leaks. On Friday, seven leaky toilets were identified throughout the Valley Terraces dormitories.

The toilets, which were wasting about 150 gallons of water an hour — or 1,314,000 gallons a year — have now been fixed, and will save the university about $4,000 in water costs.


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