Success Story: Connors State College

Connors State College has officially launched their 20x2020 program, called “Cowboys Conserve,” to coincide with the start of the school year and have made great progress plus already implemented several initiatives.

Michelle Boyd, who is the Budget and Contracts Agent and newly appointed Energy Manager, had been on leave when the 20x2020 program officially launched. With the new responsibilities she started filling out infrastructure information in late May of this year, but said that everyone involved in the program has been very understanding and willing to help. She points out that the best thing to do when you aren’t sure is to just ask for help. “I felt like my questions or problems were unique”, she said, “but they probably weren’t. So ask.”

Fast forward to September and Michelle says that the total support of the Connors State leadership has been crucial and has allowed her and Controller Kim Ryals (20x2020 POC) to launch several initiatives in support of their new program. Michelle explained that, “Now I see the end goal and I am mapping a way to get there.”

Connors State has already made great strides in implementing that map in recent months. Michelle worked with her communications department to create an image and motto for their program that incorporates the school logo, and they announced the new program to faculty and staff at last month’s in-service. They have asked each department to count their current plug load to help them discover opportunities for conservation.

The college has also recently launched an exciting energy reduction competition that will award each faculty and staff member a fleece jacket with the new “Cowboys Conserve” logo after they earn four “green tickets”. These tickets are handed out during building walkthroughs to those people who are taking ownership of the program in their areas and promoting the values of the 20x2020 program. This particular incentive harnesses two key principles of social psychology, in addition to keeping people warm when the thermostat is set back this winter.  The jacket winners should feel more committed to the program after choosing to wear the jacket and the trend of the new jackets on campus will create a sense of energy conservation being the social norm.

For now, Michelle continues to focus on getting Connors State’s background data entered into EnergyCAP in advance of the Oct. 1 deadline.  She is also working to implement everything she can to get their program fully launched before next year’s busy budget season. That seems to be working, as she notes that multiple people have already approached her and proudly described what part they are taking to reduce their usage on campus.