Williams College in Massachusetts is holding a week-long Do it in the Dark event in which dorms compete to reduce their energy consumption by the most. The buildings are divided into two categories—large and small—with one winner chosen from each category.
According to the college, “WEC compares how much energy each dorm building uses during this week to each building’s average weekly energy usage over the past couple of years. The building with the largest percent reduction will win the competition. One of the goals of Do it in the Dark is to reduce the College’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Since the College receives most of its energy from burning natural gases, reducing energy usage decreases greenhouse gas emissions.”
The competition is hosted by the Williams Environmental Council (WEC), which also organized other events such as candlelit yoga to promote power conservation after the Campus Environmental Advisory Committee recommended that the college lower its emissions. The goal is an 80 percent reduction of 1990 emission levels by 2050.
Former WEC co-president Alice Stears notes, “Personal change in behavior can certainly go a long way in reducing energy use, but we are never going to be able to fully address the threat of climate change by only turning off lights. There are many dirty energy-intensive things that we as students and consumers are not able to directly control. That is why it is so important that we pressure the administration to make smart energy decisions on our behalf and to adopt an institutional policy that commits the college to the most sustainable practices possible. I hope that what people learn or experience will carry over into their daily lives. I think it is a great opportunity for people to be engaged.”
Other colleges including Princeton, Brown, and Wesleyan have also hosted their own Do it in the Dark competitions.