By Elise Harmon, news editor
After a three-year break, Northeastern University’s Husky Environmental Action Team (HEAT) is bringing back an old tradition – Do It in the Dark, a competition among freshman dorms to reduce electricity usage from Sept. 28 to Oct. 23.
HEAT last held Do It in the Dark in the fall of 2012. In addition to the competition aspect, the event will include programs held by a variety of other organizations.
“The event lines up with a lot of core values that we have here at the university,” said Austin Williams, a junior environmental studies and political science major.
These core values, he said, include sustainability and safe sex practices.
Freshman dorms will compete to see who can reduce their energy usage the most during the month over which the event takes place.
“Do It in the Dark is first and foremost a competition between all the freshman dorms,” Alissa Zimmer, a third-year environmental studies and political science major and HEAT’s executive director, said. “Facilities helps measure their reductions in energy usage throughout the month. We’ll be having events on everything from ecofeminism to citizen science to hiking.”
A kickoff event will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 28 in the Snell Library Quad. Organizations partnering with HEAT will be in attendance and students can pick up glow-in-the-dark condoms, reusable bottles, bags and a calendar of events.
Northeastern’s Facilities Division will be comparing energy usage in the freshman dorms to September usages at similar times and in similar weather, according to Joe Ranahan, Northeastern’s energy manager. In the past, his team developed an algorithm to calculate the reduction of energy usage in each building. Reductions will be proportional, since different buildings use different amounts of energy.
“With new buildings [such as East Village], we’ll be plugging those into our algorithm as well,” Ranahan said.
Ranahan currently has a stockpile of devices called Emberplug AV, which can be plugged into a wall outlet. The device saves power that is wasted when a device is left on standby mode.
“If anyone wants a leg up on the competition, they can come get these from me,” Ranahan said.
Residents who are interested can email him.
Other organizations and people involved include Northeastern’s Feminist Student Organization; NU Sexual Health Advocacy, Resources and Education (SHARE); Health Disparities Collaborative; Sara Wylie, professor at the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute; Progressive Student Alliance; Social Justice Resource Center; Slow Food NU; Economics Society; Northeastern University Huskiers and Outing Club; Resident Student Association; Student Government Association; and the Office of Sustainability.
“We’re putting on events with each of these organizations,” Zimmer said. “SHARE is doing a couple of their own to kind of promote the ‘do it’ part of Do It in the Dark.”
HEAT hopes to distribute a tip sheet detailing how students can save energy, such as keeping lights on only when necessary and unplugging something when it´s not in use to avoid wasting electricity.
“The shift from an organization that focuses on advocacy towards one that reincorporates on-campus programming is one that this e-board has taken very seriously,” Williams said. “We want to make sure that Do It in the Dark remains here as a tradition to instill values of environmental consciousness in our student body.”
Photo by Scotty Schenck