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Eric Sean Weld   Date: 3/26/09 Bookmark and Share

Turn the Lights Off to Vote for Earth

It’s bound to be dark on campus this Saturday, March 28, between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. 

That’s when the “switch-hunt” will take place, when student teams will rove from campus house to house in search of lights to turn off.

It’s all part of Earth Hour 2009, a global effort sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) to get people everywhere to “vote for earth” by turning off lights for one hour. (Leaving your lights on, according to the campaign, is a vote for global warming.)

In an effort to inspire compliance with Earth Hour at Smith, students in Morrow House have coordinated a “switch-hunt,” in which teams will roam the campus switching off lights as necessary.

“Our hope with the switch-hunt is to not only have student rooms dark, but academic and administrative buildings as well,” said Lauren Kaelin ’10, who is leading the effort. “We really just want to encourage involvement—turning off as many lights as possible. ”

Students pedal for power during Earth Hour 2008.

The switch-hunt is also a house competition event, Kaelin explained. Each house will receive “Turn me off” signs and will have one hour to distribute them on campus while turning off lights. The first team to return having distributed their tags will win “green” prizes, such as mugs, wine glasses, plants and gift certificates that promote sustainability on campus.

This is the second year Morrow House students have coordinated the switch-hunt, said Kaelin. The students formed a house Sustainability Committee last year to actively promote sustainability efforts, such as using low-wattage light bulbs, low-flow shower heads and recycled materials.

Through Earth Hour, the WWF hopes to motivate one billion people to turn off their lights for the hour. The results of the campaign will be presented at the United Nations Global Climate Change Conference later this year.

“One person turning off their lights won’t make thatmuch of a difference,” said Kaelin. “But what our committee has always encouraged and what Earth Hour is all about is small steps, small deeds. If everyone just did one small deed, that becomes significant, that makes a difference.”

That is the premise behind Earth Hour: inspiring broad change through a planet full of small actions. 

“Make Smith as dark as possible to show our support for climate change action,” Kaelin encouraged. “An hour of darkness, a world of difference.”


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