Green’ Christmas Planned on Bison Hill

Nothing against Bing Crosby or the frozen water vapors favored by Christmas card artists, but this year, Oklahoma Baptist University is planning for a "green" Christmas. Sure, plenty of the campus' staff and administrators welcome the chance for a Christmas Eve snowfall, but for the sake of energy conservation, they're getting a guaranteed extra week of vacation as well.

As an added benefit for OBU staff members and a significant way to positively affect energy consumption, OBU announced a plan to close campus offices from Dec. 21, 2009, through Jan. 1, 2010. Originally, the Christmas holiday was set for Dec. 21-25 this year. The energy conservation dates will be Dec. 28-31, with Jan. 1 being New Year's holiday.

"OBU is committed to conserving energy in all areas of the campus," said President David W. Whitlock. "This is one meaningful way to save on heating and power consumption during a time when there is not a great deal of activity on the campus. We realize every step toward conservation is helpful. That has been part of our planning as we construct and renovate facilities, update heating and cooling equipment and replace lighting fixtures on the campus. We know that these efforts have a cumulative effect."

This year's extended break results in four extra days of paid leave time for full-time staff members. Coincidentally, OBU should reap maximum conservation of energy by avoiding heating, lighting and other services for the majority of campus facilities during the holiday season.

"Expenditures for energy needs comprise a significant percentage of OBU's operating budget," said Randy Smith, OBU executive vice president for business and administrative services. "We strive to be good stewards of our financial resources, and adopting this conservation policy for the holiday break will not only conserve environmental resources. It also will help OBU reduce utility costs. By being pro-active in conservation and green initiatives, we are reaping the added bonus of fiscal savings."

Supervisors in several campus offices will work with their staff members to ensure essential services are provided during this extended break including security and student housing. Staff members who work during the period when offices are closed to the public will receive equitable leave time for working during the break.