Marissa Hank ‘20
Every April, the Sustainability and Eco Representatives from all the houses at Smith host a competition called April Showers. This environmentally-friendly event takes place around Earth Week every year, and supports water conservation as well as Smith College’s sustainability efforts. During the event, houses compete to see which house can conserve the most water and energy. The contest encourages Smith students to take shorter showers or to skip a shower whenever possible. By taking shorter showers, students can help their house reduce water consumption. In the Shrink Your Footprint campaign at Mount Holyoke College, they estimated that the average American uses 100 gallons of water each day—enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses! According to the campaign, water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water. Using less water also puts less pressure on water supply and distribution systems and sewage treatment facilities, and uses less energy for water heating. This two-week competition is a time for Smith students to be especially mindful of the amount of water they use on a daily basis.
At the beginning of week one, Sustainability and Eco-Representatives place shower timers in each shower stall on every floor of their house. In the bathroom, residents will mark on a tally sheet each time a shower is skipped or is less than five minutes long. At the end of two weeks, the Eco-Reps will count up the tallies. The house with the most tally marks per person will win a Herrell’s Ice Cream gift certificate.
Some easy tips to reduce your shower time include: skipping a shower, taking a military-style shower (turning off the water when soaping up, shampooing up and turning it back on when you rinse), not shaving in the shower, and/or skipping washing your hair and using dry shampoo. Eco-reps encourage students to try to take a shower under five minutes or skip a shower for the next two weeks.