About and FAQ

Go to the signup page to join the Cool Campus Challenge. That’s it, you’ll be into the Challenge tool and on your way.

1. What is the Cool Campus Challenge?

The Cool Campus Challenge is an online learning experience and competition between UC campuses running from October 6 to December 10, 2015. It’s designed to motivate and reward staff, faculty and students who take steps to reduce their carbon footprints and help the UC system reach Carbon Neutrality by 2025. It’s a big, daring goal, but we can get there if we all work together as a community to make it happen.

2. How does the Cool Campus Challenge work?

Once you sign up you will be given a variety of ways to learn more about your carbon footprint and to pledge to numerous actions that have a direct impact on reducing energy use. Each week, we’ll highlight an important theme along with suggested actions (or pledges) you can take that will either directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase education and awareness about climate disruption. These activities could be as simple as turning off the lights when you leave the room, or taking public transportation…things you may already be doing!

Show us, your friends, and your colleagues your progress by uploading photos and stories to your personal Challenge page.

For every action you take, you’ll earn valuable points for your campus that will enter you in a raffle to win cool, energy efficient prizes (did someone say solar-powered cell phone charger?) You can also earn “bonus points” for completing the action within a specified time period or for taking new and creative actions that aren’t yet on the pledge list.

3. How do participants and campuses earn points?

There are several ways for participants to earn points. Simple actions such as signing up for the Challenge will earn 200 points, and more points can be earned for simple tasks such as uploading a photo, inviting friends to join, and filling out an online survey. Participants also earn points by taking actions that reduce their energy use and can earn "bonus points," for completing the action within a given time period. Points are tracked in the online software.

4. What do points do exactly?

Points earned throughout the 10-week challenge will be tracked and viewable real-time and added to each campus’ total. Points will be tallied up at the close of the Challenge, and the campus with the highest point count will be crowned the “Coolest UC Campus.” We will also recognize our next two cool leading campuses. While we won’t be handing out medals to everyone on the winning campus (we wish we could!) there will be rewards and recognition bestowed upon the campuses that are leading the pack throughout the competition.

5. How do I sign up for the challenge?

Click here to enter your name and campus email address, and we’ll email you a confirmation. That’s it, you’ll be into the challenge tool and on your way. Sounds good, I’m in!

6. How do teams work?

Anyone can either create their own team or join an existing team on their campus. There is no limit to the number of participants on teams…the more the better! Teams with the most points will be recognized by their campus. Stay tuned for information from your campus on the benefits of joining a t.

7. How do I help spread the word?

We’ve put together a toolkit with tons of helpful info on how to get the word out (even sample social media posts using the official #UCool hashtag). Click here to download that now. You can also contact us at coolcampuschallenge@gmail.com and your local campus sustainability office to learn more!

8. Who runs the Cool Campus Challenge, anyway?

The Cool Campus Challenge is a collaboration between the Campus of California and UC Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. It’s modeled on the Cool California Cities Challenge, which aims to provide all Californians with the tools they need to take action to protect the climate and keep California cool. The Cool Campus Challenge is made possible by contributions from the Campus of California and your friendly Cool Campus Team.

9. As a participating campus, what do I have to do?

Campuses work to engage their faculty, staff, and students to participate by creating an account on the Cool Campus Challenge website and taking a series of actions each week of the competition to reduce their energy use.

Every member of the UC community has the opportunity to contribute to the program. These contributions include actions such as turning off your lights when not in use or adequate light is available, unplugging equipment when not in use, and reducing energy consumption from commuting to and from campus. By signing up for the Challenge and reporting these actions, participants earn points, which further the ranking of their campus in the competition.

Some activities you should expect to take part in as campus participating in the Challenge include:

  • Develop creative ways to engage your campus community
  • Reach out to departments and campus organizations to solicit participation
  • Participate in monthly calls with the Cool Campus team
  • Learn from other campuses about their success in engagement

Here are some basic messaging strategies:

  • Easy to Do
  • Everyone’s taking the pledge - rally your colleagues and challenge other departments
  • Everyone makes a difference. Every action you pledge to do helps.
  • Fun!
  • Friendly competition among UC’s. Bragging rights.
  • High support from top administrators

10. How do campuses motivate participants?

The key to success is creating a positive environment that supports participants in their efforts to lead more climate-friendly lifestyles. Messages should focus on some of the successful techniques used by Challenge campuses include:

  • Goal setting – focus on helping your campus meet the UC Climate Neutrality target
  • Commitments – encouraging participants to publicly pledge to take particular actions
  • Social norms - show how popular and important taking climate action is
  • Comparative feedback - letting participants, teams and campuses know how well they are doing on a regular basis
  • Positive feedback - providing praise and recognition to those who actively participate
  • Prompts – little reminders about what participants have pledged to do something
  • Incentives - little thank you gifts received or raffled to active participants
  • Local messengers - the best messenger is someone trusted that you know
  • Authority - campus officials should ask staff, students and faculty to participate and let them know why this is important
  • Social diffusion - use your existing email lists and events to engage participants

11. What e-mail communication can participants expect to receive?

Every Monday participants will receive an email communicating the theme of the week (lightning, plug loads, transportation, food & waste, etc.).

Every Friday participants will receive a customized email with their rank, points, pounds of CO2 saved for themselves, their team and their campus

12. What are the weekly themes?

Once you sign up, you’ll receive a weekly email alerting you to the theme of that week’s challenge, and giving you an opportunity to consider and try impactful actions to reduce electricity, thermal and fuel use . You can also view all 50 pledge activities online at anytime once in the tool and take action on them right away. [KS3] Here’s a sneak peak of just a few:

  1. Education
  2. Lighting
  3. Plug loads
  4. Computers
  5. Equipment & Purchasing
  6. Transportation
  7. Heating and Cooling
  8. Food and Waste

13. Who do I contact for help?

14. Where can I find help for the software?

Please see our How it Works page for questions related to the software.