This is the second week of Haverford’s annual Do It In The Dark competition, where dorms compete to lower their energy usage. The competition is hosted by Haverford’s Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER) with the goal of helping the student body take steps towards living more sustainably by reducing their electricity consumption.
“When you live at your house and you leave for the day you turn your lights off. When you come home from the day, you turn them back on. So why can’t people do that when they are living in a communal living space? Why do you have to leave them on?” said Becca Boden ‘21, a member of the subcommittee of CER which plans the competition. “So it’s the same thing—whoever gets back first or whoever leaves turn it on, turn it off. People don’t need to be scared to touch a light switch!”
While a relatively new competition, Do It In The Dark has already become a staple of Haverford student life. For three weeks every spring, hallways are noticeably darker as students battle to win a host of different prizes.
“It’s very dark! But after a week, I sort of got used to it. At first, it felt weird to have all the lights off but now I think I could do it full time,” said Simon Babb ‘22, who lives in Gummere, the dorm currently in the lead. “I used to leave my lights on and just not think about it but now everytime I’m using electricity, I’m thinking about it,” he continued.
The Do It In The Dark committee—comprised of Vaidehi Agarwalla ’19, Johnluca Fenton ‘21, Becca Boden ’21, Johanna Batterton ’21, Margaret Chen ’21, Ester Maja ’22 and Ally Edwards ’22—are dedicated to making the competition this year as successful as possible.
“We are trying to make this year the biggest one yet: more events and more publicity!” said Fenton. “[This] Friday we have a bunch of events. It’s sort of the big day. We have Frisbee in the Dark at six, we have a Throngs show at nine, public observatory viewing at 8, Nerd House at 8, and then on Saturday we have an Ethos Sexy Food Party.”
The only student dorms without electricity usage meters are the apartments, so, the Do It In The Dark committee has created a spreadsheet where student living in the apartments can pledge to eat vegetarian or vegan for part, or all, of Do It In The Dark and track their progress for the chance to win prizes. After all, when thinking about sustainability, the production of meat is incredibly carbon intensive.
“I love the idea of being more intention about what we eat. But I wonder whether sometimes if it is less sustainable to eat vegan food [for a short period]—for instance, I had some cheese in my fridge and I want to use it up before it goes bad. There are times when it can be more sustainable to eat the stuff that is there but also I really appreciate the intentionality of the challenge,” said Allie Corcoran ‘19. Corcoran, a vegetarian, is participating in the Do It In The Dark apartment challenge and attempting to eat primarily vegan.
As of February 28, Gummere is in the lead with 19.7 % reduction in electricity usage. Following behind is Kim hall with a 13.9% reduction for second place. And, in last place is Lloyd Hall with a 5% reduction!