‘Power Down Hour’ hopes to save University money and energy last Sunday of every month

Matt Liasse and Matt Liasse

No, the power hasn’t been out in residence halls — it’s merely practice of a new technique to save energy.

Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to turn off as many electronics as possible in the dorms, or so is the opinion of the resident advisers on campus. As a collective force, they have devoted the last Sunday of every month to conserving energy, calling it “Power Down Hour.”

Between 4 and 5 p.m. on those days, students in the residence halls are encouraged to turn off lights, computers, televisions and any other electronics in an effort to lessen the amount of energy consumed by the University. Sunday, March 28, will be the third Sunday the hour has been put into effect.

While power isn’t being used during that hour, students are also asked to find other means of fun that doesn’t require electricity. RAs suggest taking that time to take a walk, a nap or hang out in the residential hall lounges with other students.

Sunday afternoons were picked to be the best time for the energy saving effort in hopes that it wouldn’t be too much of an obstruction of anyone’s week, said Kreischer quadrangle RA Teddy Brown.

“It’s hard to think that turning your lights off makes a difference,” Brown said. He said he looks forward to seeing all students on campus coming together in this activity.

Brown also said that he plans to look at the statistics to see how much money is being saved when students power down for one hour each month.

The idea was put together by the Dream Green Team, which is the Resident Adviser Sustainability Committee. The committee consists of one RA from each staff on campus, and they come up with ways the University can be more green and plan different events.

“Essentially, what we do is to educate, create awareness and attempt to create green or environmentally conscious behaviors in the residents of the halls on campus,” said Dream Green Team adviser Nicholas Hennessy.

“Saving energy … is a huge incentive and one that everyone should be concerned with,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy added there are even some plans of rewarding the hall that cuts the most amount of power with pizza or ice cream, which can be measured with meter readings. That part of the deal is still being planned.

“Power Down Hour” is an idea stemmed from another project the Dream Green Team came up with called “Friday Night Lights,” which is also advised by Hennessy. The groups consists of groups of students going to all academic buildings on Friday evenings to turn off the lights that janitors of the University leave on, which, according to Brown, saved between $5,000 and $10,000.

“Friday Night Lights” was the “starting point,” and after saving so much money, Brown said he felt the “Power Down Hour” was a good idea.

“Both programs involve saving energy dollars,” Hennessy said. “Hopefully, residents can see that what they are doing during just one hour of ‘Power Down’ has an impact, and that it is not difficult to change their behaviors and use less energy for a lot longer than an hour.”

The RAs’ main objective is to get as many students on campus to become involved in conserving energy on campus.

“I think that ‘Power Down Hour’ is a simple way for residents to make a difference,” said Kreischer RA Brooke Mason. “It is a slow process changing our bad habits and we hope in creating [this] that students will continue to cut down on their electricity even when it is not ‘Power Down Hour.'”

“I think it is really important that as a culture we begin to change our bad habits into green habits,” Mason said.