On Saturday, Mar. 27, St. Mary’s students gathered for an hour and turned off all of their lights and electronics in honor of the energy conservation movement, Earth Hour.
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement sponsored by The World Wildlife Fund to try to promote energy conservation by encouraging the turning off lights and electronics for an hour. “Everyone is supposed to start at a local time, so that every hour another time zone is switching off their lights to save energy,” said first-year Paula Riner, the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) member who headed St. Mary’s Earth Hour preparations.
The purpose of Earth Hour is to show that small actions, such as turning your lights off for an hour, can have a very big impact on the environment when a large number of people participate. “More than just about awareness of energy consumption, the act of turning off lights for an hour is a united, high profile way to show worldwide understanding of and a commitment to climate change,” said SEAC member Emily Saari.
Here at St. Mary’s, Earth Hour began at 9 p.m. and there where a number of different activities for students to partake in during the hour. There was a campfire at the Waring Commons fire pit, BBQ at the Dorch Circle, and events on the Campus Center Patio, such as, live acoustic music, food, and coloring.
Before all of this could take place SEAC members, Residence Life, and Public Safety had to work together to make sure that as many lights as possible were turned off on campus and that students remained safe and had fun during the hour. SEAC members went around to the academic building checking light switches and practicing for Earth Hour.
According to Riner, they also asked faculty and staff members to turn off all of their office lights before heading out on Friday. “We contacted the RHC’S and RA’s so they could organize activities, inform their residents, and put up flyers [in their halls],” said SEAC member Johanna Galat.
While the ‘official’ Earth Hour only took place for an hour, SEAC members hope that students will take something away from the experience and look at the bigger picture. Many do think it will make students more aware of their energy usage. “When we turn off our lights and realize how much we can still do, we realize that much of the lighting we use is extraneous,” said Galat.