Lights out for Skidmore Unplugged

Posted by Elizabeth Hopkins

Skidmore Unplugged, an annual three-week long competition to reduce energy usage in the College's dorms begins on Monday, Feb. 8. This year the Sustainability Office, in conjunction with the S-Rep program and numerous clubs on campus, will host a number of events to spur Skidmore's competitive spirit and alter the overall organization of the event.

Numerous clubs on campus will get involved in the competition. Lights will go out for The Skidmore News for one week as the online newspaper hosts a blackout in honor of Skidmore Unplugged.

S-Reps will urge fellow residents to "Do It in the Dark" and "Keep Calm and Unplug," creative slogans that Sustainability Fellow Rachel Willis has developed to inspire enthusiasm in participating students. A number of creative advertising techniques have been developed to keep students informed of the event, including Facebook invitations, flyers and bathroom readers.

S-Reps will be handing out commitment cards in their dorms in an effort to connect more directly with residents. The cards are designed so that students can check off whether they have made efforts to reduce their environmental impact by turning off lights, unplugging electronics and using the stairs instead of the elevator. The promise of a free Chipotle gift card awaits their efforts if they turn in a completed card to their S-Rep.

"Chipotle highlights sustainability in local operations," Willis said. Indeed, the company has historically expressed much enthusiasm for Skidmore Unplugged and has been willing to support the Sustainability Program in its endeavor. In the past, Chipotle has awarded the winning dorm with a free burrito party. This year, the prize will go to individuals.

Clubs on campus have agreed to host festive events during the three-week period, including the Outing Club and North Woods Stewards, who will take students on a moonlit walk in the North Woods this coming Wednesday. Shaman and Healer Ray Crist will visit Wilson Chapel Sunday, Feb. 17 for a yoga demonstration. The improvisational comedy group Awkward Kids Talking will host Improv in the Dark on Feb. 23, and Lively Lucy's will join in the fun with some music in the dark on Feb. 28.

Willis, whose efforts have been pivotal in involving clubs on campus outside of the S-Rep program, commented, "Sustainability isn't just about turning off the lights. It's about building positive relationships and a community."

Willis hopes that this year the exciting inclusive atmosphere of the competition will encourage students to beat the average 4% decrease in energy usage of past years. "My goal after the competition is to show that it was a worthy event," she said.

Beginning on Monday, students will have access to each residence hall's electricity use at www.buildingdashboard.net/skidmore/ and be able to view ongoing events on the Skidmore Unplugged Facebook page. 

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