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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Office of Sustainability uses Eco Aggies app for Social Sustainability in Aggieland Challenge

The+Eco+Aggies+app+challenges+students+to+perform+simple+sustainability+tasks+such+as+turning+off+the+lights+when+they+leave+a+room.
Photo by Photo by Alexis Will

The Eco Aggies app challenges students to perform simple sustainability tasks such as turning off the lights when they leave a room.

The Office of Sustainability is hosting the Social Sustainability in Aggieland Challenge in which participants will be required to download the Eco Aggies app to log their sustainable actions to compete for prizes.
The challenge began at 9 a.m. Monday and will conclude at 5 p.m. Friday. The challenge will go live after 300 participants register through Eco Aggies. JouleBug, the company that runs the app, customized and rebranded it specifically for the unique culture at Texas A&M, naming it Eco Aggies, according to Jamin Goecker, graduate assistant and sustainability coordinator in residence life.
“It’s a fun, interactive way to learn a little more about sustainability and particularly about social sustainability,” said Ben Kalscheur, assistant manager of the Office of Sustainability. “A lot of times, when people hear about sustainability, they think it’s just about the environment, but that’s only one part of it. It’s also about people, it’s also about economy as well. So this one is focusing more on what can you do to make the world a better place for people, not just for the environment, but for people.”
With more than 150 action items available to log, competitors have the opportunity to participate in daily sustainable efforts. This has the potential to show students that sustainable actions surround them every day, Goecker said.
“There is the engagment aspect where it’s fun on the app, but there’s also an educational aspect as well,” Goecker said. “In each one of the actions, you’ll have a breakdown discussing why this particular action is important and why it’s something that you should feel motivated to go and do.”
With each sustainable action completed, competitors can hit “Buzz” on the app to log their points. Points can be acquired through turning off the lights after leaving a room, refilling a water bottle, contacting a local political representative to discuss sustainability issues, along with other conservation-based actions, Kalscheur said.
“It’s a fun way to stay engaged with sustainability to see how exactly your efforts add up over time,” Goecker said. “The nice thing about it is that it’s designed to be very interactive and it’s very much a community effort because you can actually go and see what other people in the Texas A&M community are doing and you can go comment on what they’re doing.”
Prizes will be awarded to those with the most points accumulated from completing sustainable actions. Prizes for winners include hammocks, CamelBak water bottles and goodie baskets — all focused around promoting sustainable lifestyles.
This challenge offers students an opportunity to gain insight on how their contributions and daily tasks impact the Bryan-College Station community, said Jasmine Wang, sustainability outreach intern and political science junior.
“Sustainability touches the lives of everyone in our community and has facets in every field of work in society because it encompasses social and economic elements as well as environmental,” Wang said. “It’s essential that we educate our students on this issue because as our university continues to grow and accommodate for a quickly diversifying student population, Texas A&M in turn needs to be able to adjust so that the services, amenities, and opportunities it provides to students are sustainable for generations of future Aggies.”

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