Do It In The Dark Encourages Energy Reduction
This year the residents of Gummere led the winners by reducing their consumption by 25.1 percent, and campus-wide the use of 4265 pounds of carbon were averted over the course of the competition.
What better way to encourage energy usage reduction than to make it a competition? For the second year in a row students across Haverford’s campus participated in the Do It In The Dark contest, which pits dorms against each other to see who can save the most energy, for three weeks in February.
Do It In The Dark, which is a popular annual event on hundreds of other campuses across the country, first came to Haverford last year as a part of a broader event. This year, however, members of Haverford’s student-faculty-staff Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER) decided to host the event independently. The nine participating dorms were split into four separate matchups based on comparable energy-consumption infrastructures: Gummere vs. Barclay, Kim vs. Tritton, Leeds vs. Lloyd, and a three-way matchup between the “North Dorms” Jones, Lunt, and Comfort.
The winners were Gummere, Tritton, Lunt, and Leeds, and the winners were each awarded a food prize of food for the whole dorm. Gummere's residents led the entire campus in energy reduction, by decreasing their consumption by a whopping 25.1 percent.
"Do It In The Dark encourages energy reduction through changing habits," explained Malin Ehrsam ’18, a CER member. "Even though the competition is only a few weeks long, these habits will hopefully evolve into sustainable, energy-reducing practices."
CER hoped the competition would not only raise student awareness and enthusiasm about energy saving, but also show members of the student body ways in which they could improve their energy consumption habits going forward.
"We tried to do a better job this year of educating individuals about power usage," student head of CER Alana Tartaro ’17. According to her, the CER communicated with residents via their Dorm Resource People (DRP) and gave demonstrations with power meters in the Dining Center to show people how much energy certain electronic devices use. Some DRPs made posters with tips on how to reduce energy consumption and even turned off hall lights. And the whole community could also track the progress of the energy-savings via Haverford's Building Dashboard.
Students responded well to the encouragement, as all but one residence hall showed decreases in electricity use throughout the three-week long period. In addition to Gummere's staggering reduction, the other winning dorms also made double-digit cuts in their usage: Lunt by 16 percent, Tritton by 15.4 percent, and Leeds by 10.7 percent. According to the calculator on the Building Dashboard's site, across the campus 4265 pounds of carbon were averted during the course of the competition.
“I think most students were pretty enthusiastic to participate,” said Dayana Davila ’19, a resident of Gummere Hall. Some of the tactics members of her dorm used to achieve their more-than-25-percent reduction, she explained, included turning off lights in rooms, halls, and bathrooms. Many students quite literally did "it"—walking, brushing teeth, or just hanging out—in the dark. Though Davila said there were occasional difficulties of finding her way to her door, she took the challenge in stride.
"This year was a terrific success," declared Jesse Lytle, the President's chief of staff and the College's chief sustainability officer, who stressed the positive reverberations that campus-wide conservation can hold. "When one person saves electricity, it benefits the whole community. And when the whole community saves electricity, together we really make a difference."