NIU committed to conserve energy

By Rebecca Bahr

Residence hall dwellers will be pressed to be more energy-conscious in an effort to reduce energy waste on campus.

“Two basic reasons for increasing our historical commitment to energy conservation are deteriorating equipment that reduces efficiency and possible state cutbacks due to the declining economy,” said NIU President John La Tourette.

Students living on-campus, however, say it will take some convincing for them to make the effort to be aware of their habits.

“When we’re in the room, every light is on,” said Jennifer Plucienik, a freshman theatre education major.

“Our attitude is, ‘we already paid for the electricity, we might as well use it,'” said sophomore Tonya Thayer, a Douglas Hall resident. Thayer said she and her roommate often leave the television and lights on when they are in another room.

Several cost-saving measures are planned, said John Gardner, energy officer in NIU’s Budget and Planning Office. Thermostats will be restricted during the winter months to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.

Gardner also said that encouraging students, staff and faculty to turn off lights and unplug appliances when not in use would go a long way in reducing the university’s electric bill.

NIU spent $6.7 million in gas and electrical costs last year. “Ultimately students pay for waste; we all do,” Gardner said.

One thing the administration could do to make students more conscious is to “maybe just make the students more aware of how much we do waste,” Thayer said. “I never really thought about it, but now I do feel a little guilty.”