Green Devil Smackdown Returns

Teams forming for sustainability-themed team competition

Pratt School of Engineering's
Pratt School of Engineering's "greengineering" team won last year's Green Devil Smackdown and received a wrestling-themed championship belt. Photo by Duke Photography.

The battle for the belt begins again on Oct. 22.

Nearly 1,200 students, faculty and staff proved their sustainable mettle last year, but it was a team of 13 staff members and a graduate student from the Pratt School of Engineering that came out on top of Duke's inaugural "Green Devil Smackdown" and claimed the custom-designed championship belt, which has been proudly displayed in a case by Twinnie's Café in the Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Science

Duke community members can now sign up to take a shot at knocking off the champions from last year's sustainability-themed competition and steal the championship belt.

Students, faculty and staff can now join or form teams for the 2013 Green Devil Smackdown, which begins Oct. 22. This year's competition will include monthly challenges from October to March 2013 as teams see who can compile the most sustainable behaviors on campus. Teams of Duke community members earn points for "green" actions, such as taking the bus, carpooling or completing the Duke Carbon Calculator.

"Last year, we really pushed ourselves to find as many `green' things as possible to complete," said Kathy Kay, director of special events at Pratt and captain of the champion "greengineering" team. "We plan to really focus on an even greener agenda this time around and get more people excited. We need to step up our game to hold onto the belt."

The team that earns the highest average points per participant will be crowned champion and receive a custom-designed Green Devil championship belt. In addition, a drawing will be held at the end of the competition to award an iPad to a Duke community member who completes at least seven challenges during the competition.

August Burns, departmental business manager for the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics and a member of "greengineering," said that participating in the Green Devil Smackdown wasn't just about winning - she's adopted more sustainable behaviors - like using WeCar, Duke's car-sharing program, and buying a hybrid car - because of the competition.

"The Smackdown gave me a little extra nudge because I was thinking about sustainability when I was looking for a car," said Burns, who traded in her 2001 Nissan Ultima and bought a 2012 Kia Optima after last year's Smackdown. "It's among the best decisions I've ever made because I get my money back by saving on better mileage, and I'm not burning as much gas."

Along with Burns, other Duke community members flocked to sustainable programs and activities during last year's competition:

"Ultimately, the Smackdown is all about how we can inspire and challenge our peers to be more sustainable," said Tavey Capps, Duke's sustainability director. "Last year's competition was one of our most successful outreach efforts, and I can't wait to see how this year's program extends the reach and impact of sustainable initiatives across campus."