The fifth Do it in the Dark contest, organized by the Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER), will take place this year from February 17 to March 9. The annual competition, in which dorms compete against one another to reduce electricity consumption, is part of a national initiative by Campus Conservation Nationals, a program dedicated to reducing energy consumption at colleges and other organizations around the country.
The competition will include four brackets: Kim and Tritton, Gummere and Barclay, Leeds and Lloyd, and the North dorms. In each bracket, whichever dorm reduces its energy usage by the highest percentage will earn a catered party, while the overall winner will win a commemorative tree planting and a chance to enter a raffle for a bike.
“One of the broad goals of the competition is to expand the understanding of energy conservation beyond just electricity in dorms, so the events are kind of tailored to that, so that we can think of conservation more broadly than just turning off a light switch,” said Jeremy Evans ‘18, an outreach assistant for CER. “We’re trying to draw on all these different narratives that can get people involved in sustainability efforts, and apply these ideas to their own lives.”
CER is collaborating with other student groups to host several events to run throughout the duration of the competition, including a Throng show, a Student-Farmer Symposium with Haverfarm, a dinner in the dark at Ehaus, Glow in the Dark frisbee with the Donkeys and Sneetches, a hike on the nature trail and singalong in the Skate House, a Game Night in Nerd House, a screening of the movie Saving Snow, and a planting with Diggin’ in the Dirt.
When asked about what long-term changes he would like to see with respect to sustainability at Haverford, Evans responded, “There has been a lot done from the Facilities side in terms of changing the lightbulbs, putting in sensors — that kind of all happens behind the scenes without students really knowing about it. Other institutional groups are doing a good job of putting in the large framework, so it comes down to competitions like this to hammer in the everyday life components that could take it a step further.”
Throughout the rest of the year, CER hosts speakers and events such as Professors with Pooches, and advertises for environmental events, both within the Trico and in Philadelphia, through their Green Scene newsletter. They also control the Greening Haverford Fund, which students can apply to on a rolling basis for funding to attend conferences and workshops, execute sustainability-related projects on campus, and more.
CER has several initiatives currently in the works, including a bike share program and a mural project, intended to create visually appealing and educational sustainability themed murals on campus. The Composting/Waste Stream working group is endeavoring to minimize food waste and maximize composting; they are also restructuring the end of year collection of reusable goods from student dorms, in an effort to prevent excess trash being sent to the landfill. CER asks that students donate their items through their systems, which will be publicized soon.
Check the Do it in the Dark competition standings on the Energy Dashboard under “Competition” at hav.to/energy.