Thursday, April 28, 2016

Commons Campaign: UNL Saves Energy

Jordan Brown, Kim Huynh, Liza Woltemath
Professor Damien Pfistor
Communication 250:
Rhetoric Media and Civic Life
28 April 2016
Commons Campaign Portfolio
Our group would like to bring student’s attention to the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s energy efficiency, specifically regarding electricity usage and waste. There is an increasing need to preserve energy and fossil fuels, due to growing concerns about global warming. Throughout our college careers, we have each noticed students and faculty leaving lights on and unnecessary usage of lights in buildings. For example, we see a lot of empty and unused rooms which constantly lit, or rooms using the lights when there is more than enough natural light to illuminate the space. We also notice plugins that are constantly kept on.
The exigence we are hoping to address is the waste of electricity when lights are unnecessarily left on around campus. Our goal is to provide a solution for over usage and waste of electricity on campus, specifically when it comes to leaving lights on in classrooms, restrooms, and in the dorms.  We plan on addressing this exigence in the following ways: placing informational posters around UNL dorms (posters are attached to in portfolio), with QR codes attached. These QR codes can be scanned and will bring up different websites with information about the importance of saving energy and reducing electricity usage. We will also create an educational video which will be attached to posters via the QR code. Lastly, we will create a twitter account (@UNLsavesenergy) and tweet facts about the importance of saving energy.
We are trying to reach an audience that includes students, faculty, and anybody that uses the UNL facilities and space. We want to focus mainly in dorms, because they are some of the most trafficked buildings on campus. The students use a lot of electrical energy in their daily lives, which includes dorm life activities, and there is lot of electricity and energy that ends up being wasted.  
Some obstacles and constraints we may encounter will include lack of time to create a widespread movement, as we hope to do. Another constraint would be cell phones not being compatible in terms of working with QR codes. Also, there are not always light switches in every room on campus, and due to this there could be a problem when it comes to being able to turn off unneeded lights. We had a few affordances within this project, one being the fact that there were already measures taken to save energy, but they were slight.  There are little sheets on most of the bathrooms on campus that tell people to shut off the lights when not in use, but we personally never saw it done.  Another one would be the public bulletin boards on campus.  These are a public platform in which we are able to post things and reach a broader audience.  
We feel this is a fitting response to the situation, because it will actively engage students which will further encourage them to make energy efficient choices, and will bring awareness toward how much energy we are wasting. There are other options, of course, but we feel this is the one that will be most appealing to students, given our constraints. We hope this campaign will create positive change on our university’s campus by saving energy and thus keeping facility costs low. We feel that we can make a big impact, by encouraging students and staff to make small changes-such as reducing electricity use.
The five rhetorical canons will be addressed throughout this campaign process. In terms of invention we feel that the main arguments for our case is that by saving energy you are doing good for the earth (which is something worth taking care of) and you are also saving tuition money by keeping energy and electricity costs low.
These arguments will be arranged in a few different ways. We want to, first of all, remind people of how important it is to take care of our planet. Energy waste and overuse of electricity are seemingly small issues, but they add up to create big problems for our world. We want to show students and other UNL affiliates statistics and facts to prove that this is a real problem. We also want to entice students to act by illustrating how keeping electricity waste and energy use to a minimum will save them money, by keeping facility cost low, and in turn keeping tuition cost down.
We feel that the best way to connect with other students is through the internet! This is why we created a twitter account. Much of the interactions that occur between students today, happen through social media, so we hope that our twitter account will be able to grab some of that attention. We decided to create the QR codes, because they are an interesting and interactive way to gain other’s attention.
As for memory, we think the twitter account is an ideal way for our group to showcase our credibility and knowledge. Anyone can ask us a question by answering it, is the we can show that we know more than what we are simply presenting.
Lastly, the delivery of our campaign will occur in the posters we place around the dorms. We are going to post them on designated boards, which students often scan for information about the UNL community. These are typically found outside the restrooms, so we know that the posters will get a high quantity of views.  This does not require the students to be interactive, but by visual representation, it is a simple thing to catch our audience.  
Week 9:  Get in touch with facilities in terms of hanging posters in bathrooms and general areas if a poster board isn’t present.
Week 10: Wait for answer from facility managers.
Week 11: Spring break
Week 12: Begin working to create a website for QR code.
Week 13: Finish up website and post QR code around campus/create twitter account
Week 14: Work on video
Week 15: Post new QR code with video link
Week 16: Portfolio due
For our commons campaign, we ended up creating some vivid posters to hang around designate boards around dorm rooms (mostly outside of restrooms).  We were able to hang these on all of the halls on campus.  These posters are attached, and included a QR code. commons camp.jpg
Once the QR code was scanned, it led the user to a website:  This website had 21 tips for the individual to assist in cost saving initiatives.  We also created an informational video about the importance of reducing electricity and energy use. This was uploaded to youtube:  We used different websites in case students scanned more than one poster, this was a way for us to keep students engaged and interested in the exigence we were addressing. We also created a twitter and would tweet informational facts about energy and tag the class hashtag with every tweet.  By doing that, we were able to reach a local audience in the classroom.  The twitter handle was @Unlsavesenergy.
Our process went fairly seamlessly. Our group was able facilitate productive meetings, and generate provocative ideas. However, if we were to do this project over again, we would have liked to enlist the help of certain UNL organizations, such as Sustain UNL or Green UNL. These organizations would have given us more insight and possible different approaches.  It just so happened that UNL’s Earthstock occurred during the time when we were working on our campaign. It would have been in our interest to have teamed up with those heading Earthstock, so that we could have perhaps made our cause more well-known to students.
Overall, our group feels that we created a proactive and alluring response to the exigence.  Our topic at the beginning seemed pretty broad because we were focusing it on the whole campus.  After analyzing and reviewing it further as a group, we switched it and put the residence halls as our main focus.  We feel as if this was the better option because it was something the students could control and facilitate a bit better than the main campus buildings.  The initiative to switch to the residence hall did not prevent us to stray from our original plans.  We did the things that were planned out in our proposal and stayed as close to it as possible.

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