With the recent obsession with all things green, the issue of sustainability has become a global hot topic that has trickled down into personal homes, office buildings and even college campuses.

Elon University engages the campus community in sustainability with monthly themes that promote a specific sustainable aspect. The Office of Sustainability initiated these monthly themes in the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year in hopes of educating students on a variety of sustainability topics, according to Kristi Jacobsen, education and outreach intern in the Office of Sustainability.

“There are so many topics under the heading (of) sustainability, so Elaine Durr and I constructed a list of monthly themes,” Jacobsen said. “We hope (the themes) encourage students to take a few minutes to learn about sustainability and change their own life habits to be more sustainable.”

Jacobsen informs the student body on ways they can live eco-friendly lives by creating a variety of advertisements for the monthly initiatives.

“I create informational materials, like newsletters and E-Net stories, and also promotional materials for the events and competitions that are hosted in my office,” Jacobsen said.

All of the themes encourage students to change something about their current lifestyle in order to reduce their impact on the environment. For November’s sustainable foods theme, Jacobsen organized an organic and local baking contest hosted by the Office of Sustainability, and students were encour-aged to purchase local food. In December, students took to carpooling, walking or biking in support of the month’s theme of alternative transportation.

“We hope the information provided leads to more people thinking and talking about as well as practicing sustainable behaviors,” said Elaine Durr, director of sustainability at Elon.

POWERless, a competition organized by the Office of Sustainability, runs from Feb. 21 to March 13 and is an energy competition implemented among residence halls to increase conservation awareness. The standings are determined by a building’s percent of energy reduction compared to baseline consumption, Durr said.

Residence halls and Loy Center Courts are all competing for the greatest energy reduction, and an area competition is in place to see which area — Oaks, West, East, North, Colonnades or the Loy Center — can reduce its energy usage the most.

This year, Elon is participating in Campus Conservation Nationals, the nationwide resource reduction competition in which 150 colleges are competing. The competition allows Elon to have both a campus-wide and a national goal in mind.

“The savings from all participants will be accumulated, and the target is to achieve a national challenge goal of 1 gigawatt hour,” Durr said. “(At Elon), we would like to see a cumulative energy reduction across all residential buildings of at least 10 percent. “

Although the energy reduction rates continue to increase, the numbers don’t necessarily mean all students are active participants in the competition. Oaks A is currently in first place, but according to hall assistant Riese Narcisse, his building may be winning because his residents are conserving energy unintentionally.

“I believe we are doing well due to there being a lot of theater majors, sports players and other very busy people in my building,” Narcisse said. “Since they are all rarely at their apartments, they are able to conserve energy by simply making sure to turn off their lights before they leave for the day.”

But motivated students who are determined to make a change can participate in the “Commit to Conserve” on the Building Dashboard, an interactive website where students can track building and area progress.