Challenge Case Studies

Improving Campus-wide Sustainability

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT

Wesleyan University and JouleBug

“Ideally situated on a hill overlooking the Connecticut River, Wesleyan’s campus is famously beautiful and (in more ways than one) enviably green.”


Looking to engage students in her Environmental Politics and Democratization seminar in an impactful way outside the classroom, Associate Professor Mary Alice Haddad from Wesleyan University, was elated when she found JouleBug. “Pedagogically, JouleBug was great for my class. It is really important for students to not just talk about the theory, but put it in action and see how it would motivate people to change their behaviors.”

JouleBug has been an important tool in Wesleyan’s ongoing efforts to improve campus-wide sustainability and they look forward to holding future challenges.

Professor Haddad collaborated with JouleBug to create a community challenge for the University, focusing on sustainable actions applicable to campus life. She found working with the Joulebug team easy. Participant feedback was that they loved the easy to use, simple interface of Joulebug.

With the Challenge design integrated into their class, Professor Haddad’s students took on becoming and recruiting team leaders. They worked together to develop successful recruitment and social motivation techniques, including several events to enhance participation. They encouraged students to join the Challenge with tabling events and pre-launch parties. Halfway through the month long Challenge, they re-energized participants by awarding prizes for the best picture posted and the most gains in three days. The University supported the campus effort by increasing financial aid funds based on energy savings.

To date they have successfully completed two challenges with 80 participants. Challenges began with students but have spread to include faculty, staff, and administrators. More than 15 individuals reached national standing on the JouleBug Leaderboard with over 1,000 points.

In addition to the great learning experience, the challenge built class coherence and team building. It changed the dynamics of class in a productive way.

Mary Alice Haddad

Associate Professor of Government, Wesleyan University

About Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University was founded in 1831 and is located in Middletown, CT. Today Wesleyan offers instruction in 40 departments and 44 major fields of study and awards the bachelor of arts and graduate degrees. The student body is made up of approximately 2,900 full-time undergraduates and 200 graduate students, as well as about 200 part-time students in Graduate Liberal Studies.