Dorms go dark to make a difference

Trinity Carey

The NMU residence halls  will go completely dark from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25 in celebration of Earth Hour 2017—a worldwide event that encourages people globally to turn off their lights for one hour in an effort to make an environmental impact and bring attention to climate change.

While this is NMU’s first year participating in Earth Hour, 178 countries and territories participated in 2016, according to Earth Hour’s official website.

The event has been brought to Northern to encourage students to conserve energy and, as a part of a larger campaign—The Use Less Electricity Campaign. Developed by students and staff in the University Marketing and Communications Department, the campaign’s goal is to raise awareness in students, faculty and staff, of electricity conservation and the overall preservation of the environment, said Associate Vice President of Engineering & Planning/Facilities, Kathy Richards in an email.

“The event brings awareness to climate change through a visual demonstration of shutting the lights off in cities across the world,” Richards said. “It makes us each aware of the impact we have on our environment.”

Facilities/Plant Operations, Public Safety and Police Services and Housing and Residence Life have come together to host the event and have focused it on students, Richards said.

“Excitement around the event can be created by these students actively participating in the event and seeing the direct and cumulative impact that they can have by each doing their part,” she said.

“When watching the Earth Hour promotional video, the event instills similar feelings to watching the New Year’s Eve countdown for the ball drop.”

Everyone contributes to climate change daily simply by using computers, driving cars and turning on lights. Students can reduce their effect on the climate by walking or biking to and around campus, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and unplugging electronic devices when not in use, Richards said.

“It will be exciting to see if we are able to achieve the visual impact on our campus as seen on the video that shows cities around the world going dark like Sydney, Australia and Paris, France.”

Off-campus students, faculty, staff and community members are also encouraged to participate in Earth Hour 2017 from their own homes.