Silliman may be dominating IMs this year, but any college can still rack up 50 million Green Tyng points if its students don’t waste food at dinner.

The first Green Tyng competition, which begins Thursday, will feature eight weeks of activities designed to measure each residential college’s environmental friendliness. The contest was developed by the Student Task Force for Environmental Partnership and the Yale College Council as an environmental analog to the colleges’ traditional athletic competition.

[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”14207″ ]

To launch the competition, STEP will sell discounted Nalgene water bottles on Beinecke Plaza to inspire Yalies to kick the habit of drinking bottled water, said Angel Hertslet ’08, a STEP officer and the head of Green Tyng. Students can sign pledges to use reusable water bottles instead of bottled water and win 100,000 Green Tyng points each for their college.

“When people sign a pledge, they’re more likely to follow through,” Hertslet said.

While some Green Tyng events will depend on student attendance, others will involve every undergraduate living on campus by measuring the environmental impact of each college’s daily activities.

The colleges that most improve their performances on Yale’s “energy scorecard” between February and April will win up to 100 million points, Hertslet said. The scorecard tracks energy savings in electricity, air conditioning and heating for each residential college and Old Campus or annex residence hall.

Since the 2004-05 school year, Yale has decreased its energy use 17 percent, according to the scorecard. It is available online at

Points will also go to colleges that win the Efficient Eaters contest, which will measure how much food Yalies throw away in one meal. Green Tyng organizers said they have not yet decided exactly how they will determine which college wastes the least food, but they hope to measure the waste at two dinners in each dining hall, scraping food off the plates themselves.

Students expressed enthusiasm for the contest but said its success will depend on participation.

“It’s really a matter of whether students take to it and actually care about competing,” Habib Moody ’10 said.

Adam Rodriques ’10 said that if students see their peers competing early on, they will probably join the contest.

“The way to incite students to participate is to have students participate,” he said.

Green Tyng organizers hope to capitalize on inter-college competitiveness to get students interested.

STEP director Alice Shyy ’08 said she hopes standalone events like tomorrow’s Nalgene giveaway will build momentum throughout the competition.

There are also plans for a “Trashion” show co-sponsored with YCouture, which will feature new outfits created solely from clothes left in each college’s Eli Exchange Bin.

To make the contest accessible to all students, the Green Tyng will include low-commitment events such as pledge signings and trivia contests on STEP’s Web site,

The Green Tyng has its roots in the Green Cup, a similar year-long contest which last took place in 2004 but was discontinued due to a lack of participation, she said.

The name was changed in part to evoke familiar images of competition and to bring out Yalies’ “If there’s a trophy, I want it” mentality, Shyy said.

“‘Tyng’ instantly brings it to Yale,” she said.

Under a plan announced in 2005, Yale spends money to subsidize the renewable energy market as a reward for energy conservation in the residential colleges.