'Do It In The Dark' event brings environmental awareness to residence halls

University Housing, along with the efforts of the Office of Sustainability and Student Sustainability Center, is hosting the second-annual “Do It In The Dark” sustainability competition, a three-week event between all eight residence halls across campus.

The competition started Tuesday as an Office of Sustainability initiative behind the endeavors of Sustainability Director Steve Mital.@@[email protected]@ It was launched last year with excellent student participation and is expected to be even more successful this fall. To kick off the competition, a free concert by Portland-based band “Outpost” was held in the LLC Performance Hall last Monday.@@ AND[email protected]@

“The overall goal of this competition is to help students build energy-conservation discipline into their daily habits and to promote awareness that energy conservation is the single most cost-effective energy-management strategy” Mital said.

The competition will be based on baseline energy averages taken daily from each housing complex for two weeks before its start. During the competition, energy meter readings will be taken daily to be compared to the baseline average. The complex that shows the most energy savings within the three-week period will be announced the winner.

Further education on energy conservation includes kilowatt meters that will be available for resident assistants to check out from complex directors. They will go from room to room checking students’ appliances and devices to see how much energy each uses while on or off. It will provide a way for students to see how much energy their electrical devices use.

“A lot of things still use large amounts of energy even when they’re off, so it is really insightful for people when they actually see how much each device is using,” Mital said.

The Sustainability Center and University Housing have taken lead roles this year to help promote and run the competition. Housing has helped by putting up various posters and by proliferating education on energy conservation. Members of the sustainability center, led by Student Sustainability Coordinator Louisa de Heer,@@[email protected]@ have been keeping track of meter numbers and are compiling the data. Daily results are being posted on the competition’s web page, as well as on large posters in each dining area.

“Our main goal is to promote sustainability through student initiatives, and this competition is a great way to educate students,” de Heer said.

Shutting off lights in unoccupied rooms, unplugging unused appliances and devices, shortening shower times and using high-efficiency light bulbs are just a few things that students in the dorms are doing to conserve energy. The habits built in these three weeks of the competition are hoped to be turned into routine behavior.

“I think it’s a great reminder of how we can all do our part and of how easy it is to do things that conserve energy,” freshman Danielle Humphrey said.@@[email protected]@

Although it is not directly a part of the new Oregon Model for Sustainability, the competition will also further advance the University’s progress towards the climate action plan which calls for the elimination of the University’s emissions by 2050.@@

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