Not your average power hour

By on April 8, 2009

If you tried to do your laundry last Sunday night on campus, you were out of luck – but with good reason.

Quinnipiac University hosted its first annual Earth Hour or “Hour without Power” on Sunday, March 29. Leonardo DiCaprio’s critically acclaimed documentary, “The 11th Hour,” was shown in Alumni Hall, and students who came out were provided with local and organic food.

“We decreased wattage usage from 8:30-9:30 p.m. from an average of +2400 to only 1900,” Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) President Marissa Foray said. “This may seem insignificant but this is the first time that the Quinnipiac community was asked to participate in the electrical power-down that is Earth Hour.”

Quinnipiac’s SIFE sponsored the event that garners a worldwide following. Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia by the World Wildlife Fund. 2.2 million people and 21,000 businesses participated in its first year. This year, the official Earth Hour was Saturday, March 28, but because Quinnipiac is a college campus, it was decided a Sunday night would bring in more student participation.

According to EarthHour.org, turning off the lights for an hour signifies taking a stand against climate change through a simple action. They say that individual action on a mass scale can help change the planet for the better. Global warming is one the major current threats to the world and trends to build a more sustainable, eco-friendly planet have been gaining popularity in the recent years. Earth Hour’s main aim is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions throughout the following year.

Quinnipiac’s own Earth Hour followed these claims on a smaller scale. With the help of professors, facilities, Phi Sigma Sigma, Chartwells, Lupi Bread, and Athena Diner, SIFE was able to provide students a night of eco-education and fun.

“We served soup, rolls, and desserts that are organic or locally grown to support local business and emphasize the need to reduce our carbon footprint,” Foray said.

DiCaprio’s “The 11th Hour” highlighted the damage we have done to our planet. Visiting different parts of the globe, DiCaprio points out places where harmful damage has been made to the Earth and issues a plea for change to citizens of the world.

Foray was proud of her SIFE team for putting together an event that was as successful and fun as it was educational.

“Everyone in our organization had a hand in pulling this event off, and it would not have been possible without their dedication and participation,” she said. “We hope to make this an annual event at Quinnipiac and for it to grow outside of our campus. Next year and in following years we hope to gain additional involvement and participation from the town of Hamden.”

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About Mary-Catherine Dolan