unplug friday banner with technology grid in the background

Disconnecting, Just for a Moment

Sign the UNPLUG Pledge!

In the past months, the world has been connected to technology more than ever. We are experiencing "Zoom fatigue". We have worked into the night to redesign courses and programs to be virtual. We have caught up with friends and family through a screen. This extra screen time and attachment to the digital world increases energy consumption and wasted energy. It is time to UNPLUG!

The Sustainability Committee will be practicing this from 4-5 PM as much as possible. This will ensure that we don't forget to unplug before we leave for the weekend! Lunchtime is another great hour to consider unplugging.

What are UNPLUG Fridays?

The idea for this program was created by the Sustainability Committee. Reducing your personal and office energy consumption is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make a positive impact. By committing to unplug and turn off all electronics for just one hour, we WILL make a collective impact and may also discover we can continue these practices throughout the week! Participating is simple, just take the pledge and then commit to one hour!

UNCW Facts

  • In 2019-20 school year, UNCW used 64,758,299 kWh of electricity
  • Same electricity as:
    • 5,283 homes
    • You can fully charge cell phone 5,839,280,581 times
  • It would take the following to sequester the number of carbon emissions from UNCW’s electric output alone:
    • 757,093 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
    • 59,795 acres of forestry over the period of a year
  • Total energy costs for UNCW in 2019-20 school year totaled $5,895,389

What are Energy Vampires?

The term "energy vampires" refers to appliances and electronics that use energy even when they are not turned on. According to the Department of Energy, the average American household will spend one month's worth of energy just on vampire electronics each year! Whether you're at home or at work, it is important to unplug whenever possible!

Items to unplug or turn off include, but are not limited to:

  • Chargers of all kinds
  • Computer screens (do NOT turn off your UNCW computer)
  • Overhead lights and desk lamps
  • Laptops
  • Televisions
  • Gaming consoles
  • Microwaves, coffee makers, & other kitchen appliances
  • VCR/DVD players
  • Printers
  • Devices that turn on instantly by voice or remote

Websites to calculate your personal savings

You Can Be Productive When You Unplug!

Turning off your laptop does not mean you have to skip a beat at work. Preparing for this hour is important to ensure you can get the most out of your time. You may just find that the change of scenery is just what you needed!

Working Offline

  • Read a relevant book, journal, or magazine
  • Do a writing exercise
  • Create a thinking map
  • Take time to meditate on a specific topic or issue
  • Walk and think about a specific topic or issue
  • Organize your space

Be a Healthy Hawk

Well-being Benefits:

  • Heavy technology use is linked to sleeping problems, depressive symptoms, and increased stress levels
  • Using phones (or other digital devices) in bed increases anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration
    • Lack of sleep is associated with memory deficits, impaired performance and alertness, delayed response rate, social and relationship problems, and irritability
  • Work/Life Balance: constantly connected (emails, messages, etc.) this can increase feelings of overwork, and job stress
  • Improves relationships – many of us use phones while we are with friends/family, putting down the devices allows us to be present
  • Boost productivity & creativity – studies show that the presence of electronics will generate diminished attention and lower task-performance
  • Improves mental health – social media oftentimes increases FOMO (fear of missing out) and even jealousy of others’ lifestyles. The use of smartphones is connected with loneliness, shyness, and less engagement at work
  • Improves physical health – electronics may cause eye strain and even neck pain from looking down at devices- less time we are on phones, the more time we may be active
  • Increases attention span – our attention span has shortened over time by moving from app to app, so limiting use, can help increase it
  • Increase problem-solving and analytical skills – we are quick to rely on Google/Technology to solve questions instead of recalling information ourselves – detoxing can help increase our ability to think

How to detox

  • Be realistic – you can’t cut out all digital devices, so maybe setting timelines may be the first start
  • Set limits – if you use your phone for music, maybe turn off notifications to be present during a workout, or just listening to your favorite song
  • Be present – avoid phone use during meals, with friends, working on a project/hobby, or even waking up/falling asleep
  • Set timers – maybe when using apps you can set a timer, or become aware of how much you are using devices and adjust from there
  • Remove distraction – do you need notifications for every app that you have? You can set notifications per app, and sometimes even the time frame that they come through
  • Communicate - Let others know if you are cutting back, and find other ways to stay connected or occupy your time away from a screen

How to Explain Unplug Fridays to Your Roommates & Officemates

We recognize that participating even for one hour a week may cause disruption in your current habits and processes. For example, many offices indicate "I'm in the building and will be back soon" if there is a light on, but no one in the room. There are ways to educate those you share space with about UNPLUG Fridays, and potentially encourage them to participate.

  • Share this page!
  • Make the direct connection to energy reduction and cost savings!
  • Create signs for any changes that may impact those around you.
  • Encourage them to apply for a Gold Talon Event, Residential Room, or Office!