Lights off for campus res hall energy competition

By Veronica Schiebold

Student environmental activists are asking university residents to take a stand and “Do It In The Dark.”

As part of an effort to increase awareness about global warming, Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT) is sponsoring an energy saving competition between dorms that started midnight March 16 and will last until midnight April 6.

HEAT kicked off its “Do It In The Dark” campaign with a large-scale Dorm Storm last week, where teams of members knocked on more than 7,000 residence hall doors to make students aware of the competition.

“The goals of the competition are to get NU students aware of their contribution to the environment, and how much of a difference each person can make by making small changes to their daily routine,” said HEAT Events Director Sarah Wolfson.

Additional goals are saving money – the university’s and the student’s – and reducing Northeastern’s part in global warming by lowering the university’s emissions, said Jennifer Wolfson, HEAT founder and co-director.

The dorms will be judged compared to their past energy uses. Before the beginning of the competition a reading was taken of each residence hall’s energy use. The goal of the competition is to get a lower overall reading after “Do It In The Dark.”

During the Dorm Storm, members handed out tip sheets that gave students a list of ways to conserve energy. Some of the tips include unplugging appliances, turning refrigerators to a lower setting and living with the lights off.

To encourage this last tip, glow-in the-dark condoms were passed out during the Dorm Storm, Jennifer said. HEAT also took this opportunity to get more than 4,000 signatures on a petition for Northeastern to decrease its emissions, she said.

Joe Ranahan, assistant utilities manager, will monitor the energy use of the residence halls.

“I have two ways that I will be gathering the information. The twelve dorms that are located ‘inside’ campus have meters that we installed that log electric usage through the network and store it in a database,” Ranahan said. “The rest of the dorms in the contest have regular meters installed by NStar that I will get through the ‘sneakernet’ (an online computer network).”

Ranahan will go to each residence hall collecting the information, and then compare them to the readings taken before the competition.

“The winning dorm [with the largest decrease in energy] will receive a party during finals week, funded by [Resident Student Association], with their choice of food for either one, two or three nights, depending on the size of the dorm,” Sarah said.

Jennifer said global warming is “the most important issue” of all time, and students should be the ones to lead the fight against it.

Sarah agreed and said there are many consequences of ignoring it’s importance.

“Global warming is something that has become a moral issue and will be affecting the lives of all of us,” she said. “It is important to be aware of the consequences of global warming, while keeping in mind all of the things we can do to minimize the effects. There is a huge student movement in the country right now to actively combat the effects of global warming,” Sarah said.

“Do It In The Dark” is co-sponsored by Students For Environmental Action, the Resident Student Association, Alpha Delta Phi, NU Facilities, ResLife, Legal Environmental Advocacy Forum, NU Marketing Association, Student Affiliates for American Chemical Society, NUBiLAGA, College Democrats, Progressive Student Alliance, Students for Choice, NU Tutoring Society and Peace Games for Social Change.

For more energy saving tips students can go to

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