Duke community members helped cut Duke's carbon footprint in June and July by making small changes to summertime routines as part of the Green Devil Challenge.
Just over 1,000 members of the Duke community participated in the June/July Green Devil Challenge, which encouraged students, faculty and staff to make sustainable decisions when it came to summer vacations, outdoor activities and grilling. Duke community members made pledges to avoid high-carbon activities by having "staycations" - vacations close to or at home - buying environmentally-friendly bug spray and more.
"There are many ways to make popular summer activities more eco-friendly, like using sunscreen and bug spray without harmful chemicals or using local, organic and vegetarian ingredients for cook-outs," said Casey Roe, outreach coordinator for Sustainable Duke. "These really are small changes we can make in our lives that add up."
As an incentive for taking the Green Devil Challenge, each Duke employee or student who made the pledge to "green" their summer was entered into a raffle for sustainable prizes. Sara Gregory, a financial analyst for Duke University Hospital's Department of Finance, was randomly selected from entrants to receive prizes that include a reusable shopping bag filled with eco-friendly sunscreen, pesticide-free bug spray, organic lip balm, a "buzz out" beeswax and soy candle to keep bugs away, and a reusable aluminum water bottle.
Gregory said she signed up for the Green Devil Challenges because she wanted to learn about new ways to be sustainable in her day-to-day life. As part of the June/July challenge, Gregory pledged to enjoy low-carbon activities like walking or biking, using propane instead of charcoal when grilling outside and eating less meat and more local produce. She said she participated in a "staycation" by enjoying North Carolina attractions.
"It's been really nice to see some of the local features that North Carolina has, like the Asheboro zoo or the Museum of Life and Science in Durham," Gregory said. "I also saw a financial impact because I wasn't spending as much money on travel."
Students, faculty and staff can currently sign up to take the August Green Devil Challenge, which asks Duke community members to be sustainable in their use of water.