On Saturday, March 31, residential life hosted the annual Earth Hour to raise awareness for energy conservation across the world.
Who knew that dancing in the dark could be a sustainable activity? Temple’s residential life staff did, hosting their “Do it in the Dark: Lights out for Earth Hour” event last Saturday, March 31.
Earth Hour is an internationally designated time when people across the world turn off their lights for one hour in an effort to reduce their environmental impact, draw attention to environmental issues and bring people together to do something that’s good for the world.
Residential life staff got students involved by inviting them out for a night of free food and live music while encouraging sustainable practices.
“This is the second year that the residential life green team has observed Earth Hour at Temple,” Sustainability Ambassador Jim Poole said. “Last year, we held an event in the courtyard at 1940 [Residence Hall] that limited participation to students who lived in 1940. This year, we decided to move it out into a more public place, the Founder’s Garden, so more students could participate.”
Poole said approximately 50 students attended Earth Hour, at the square adjacent to Speakman Hall.
“Do it in the Dark: Lights out for Earth Hour” took place at the Founder’s Garden on Liacouras Walk beginning at 8:30 p.m., and incorporated fun and entertaining activities that did not require the use of electricity.
The food provided, which mainly consisted of fruits and vegetables, did not require electrical heating. All performances were acoustic and acappella. Students performed Michael Jackson songs including “Heal the World” and “Man in the Mirror” sung by junior Spanish major D’Juan Lyons.
Freshman music education major Ian Gildea said he heard about Earth Hour from a friend and decided to come out and perform. His set included covers of Bruce Springsteen, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Bomb the Music Industry! and Sesame Street.
“I think it’s good to let people know what’s actually happening in the world, because I think a lot of people – like students and people from upper-middle class families who happen to go to college – just don’t know and understand world events,” Gildea said. “And they really don’t understand the concept of electricity.”
Gildea played his guitar and sang in the center of Founder’s Circle, surrounded by candles as the source of light.
“Half the world doesn’t have the access to electricity that we do, and we just kind of take it for granted,” Gildea said.
Mark Singer, a resident assistant and sophomore speech, language and hearing science major said he decided to make a greater impact by encouraging residents in Johnson Hall to come, too. He placed advertisements in the lobby of his building and was able to get more people to join in.
“I think that taking part in an event like Earth Hour is important to remind ourselves that we don’t need electricity to have fun,” Singer said.
Since its launch in 2007, millions of people, businesses and governments around the world have united each year in support of Earth Hour.
More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour in 2011, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also inspired members to begin going “beyond the hour” to commit to lasting action to better the planet.
The invitation to “switch off’ electricity has been extended to everyone across the world, and Earth Hour quickly has become an annual global event. It’s scheduled for the last Saturday of every March.
And with the power of social networks behind the Earth Hour message, the event attracted even more participation.
This year, Earth Hour launched “I Will If You Will” on YouTube to showcase how everyone has the power to change the world. Participants headed to the website to declare what they were willing to do to save the planet or accept one of the challenges received from supporters.
Mass power cuts, gas blockades and escalating fuel prices are just a few of the problems that people around the world face as a result of environmental challenges.
“Tonight at Earth Hour showed how university housing, residential life and the Office of Sustainability work together and can put on a great event to raise awareness to people on [Main] Campus,” junior legal studies major Ashley Archer said. “An hour out of your day to turn off electronics and be on campus with other individuals who are passionate about sustainability [was a great time.]”
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