BY ALISON SMITH
Conserving energy at home may be second nature for some.
“Everybody knows if you leave your bedroom you shut off the light,” said Shellby Zelmer, an advertising and public relations senior and account manager for Flypaper Creative Services. However, when it comes to public domains, individuals don’t always practice the same conservation efforts.
Flypaper just launched their latest advertising campaign, “It’s In Your Hands.” The campaign advocates sustainability by encouraging students and faculty to conserve energy on campus by doing one simple task: flipping a light switch.
Joe Herbst, MSUM’s sustainability coordinator since June 2012, approached Flypaper and asked for help in promoting a sustainability campaign involving students, faculty and staff of the college. Herbst wanted to raise awareness about the issue but also provide a chance for students to apply the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to “real world problems.”
“I think it’s really exciting to see our students on campus be able to apply what they’re learning to sustainability,” Herbst said. “They come up with some pretty cool stuff.”
The superhero-themed campaign launches this week with the introduction of an unnamed mascot to get people talking and “stir up commotion and curiosity.”
The campaign includes a contest to name the mascot, advertising through digital signage in MacLean and the CMU and a graphic to be placed above light switches in high traffic areas around campus as a visual reminder to switch off the light.
Zelmer said the campaign title promotes individuals to take responsibility for the world they live in. “Don’t rely on someone else to do it. Step up and take care of your Earth,” she said. “With (the title) ‘It’s in Your Hands’ it’s point blank.”
With 98 percent of scientists now saying that climate change is the result of humans, it’s hard to deny that something needs to be done.
Herbst believes the issue of sustainability and climate change boils down to culture more than anything else. Promoting and instilling a culture where conservation is second nature is really the only way to make an actual difference in the changes happening to the climate.
“I want this school to get to a point where seeing a light on in an empty room is like, ‘What? That’s just dumb. We gotta do something about that,’” Herbst said.
“I want students to be able to feel like they can take control of our sustainability initiative to take control of their future,” Herbst said. “By the time I’m old and grey, the students that are here right now have this whole future ahead of them … we want to have a good future with a healthy environment to provide the lifestyle that we like to live.”
Even though sustainability may seem overbearing and unreachable to the average person, Herbst believes that it’s more about the little things we can do to change our outlook on the issue that will have the greatest impact on how we deal with climate change in the future.
Students aren’t the only ones responsible for conserving energy for the school. Herbst calls Jeff Goebel, physical plant manager at MSUM, a “rock star” when it comes to maximizing energy efficiency on campus.
Goebel, along with Information Technology, developed an event management system where the energy system will no longer heat, cool or exchange air in rooms that no one is using. This simple change has resulted in a more than 20 percent decrease in electric consumption since the system was put into place in 2010.
Herst said sustainability is “something that you approach, not just something you do.”
“As long as we’re taking steps in the right direction that’s, to me, a good thing,” Herbst said. “We may not be the rock stars of campus sustainability across the world, but slowly, we’ll build momentum.”
To get involved in the efforts, stop by the Flypaper table to submit your name suggestions for the campaign’s mascot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday in the CMU or from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday in MacLean.
Herbst hopes to expand the “It’s In Your Hands” campaign even further to promote other forms of sustainability such as recycling.
Flypaper is an advertising agency where students receive real world experience in account management, public relations, copywriting, designing and web development in exchange for three semester credits.
MSUM’s office of sustainabilty is always looking for individuals to volunteer for community and Green Dragon events. To get involved, stop by the office of campus sustainability from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday in Hagen 111.