Earth Hour a flop on campus

Coordinator disappointed in participation

Alyssa Mosher – The Aquinian

Earth Hour was a success in Fredericton, but it was a letdown on the St. Thomas campus, according to the students’ union sustainability coordinator.

Bethany Knox said the university’s low participation in Earth Hour is disappointing because STU has a lot of environmental issues that Earth Hour would illuminate.

“Our energy consumption here on campus is something that is not necessarily monitored but is something that needs to be and more of an effort needs to be taken to lessen…how much water we are consuming [and] our heating here,” Knox said.

She said paper reduction needs to be addressed on campus, including the “dreadful roll up the rim Tim Horton’s cups.”

Knox said Earth Hour “is meant to pull communities together, and for at least once a year, have everyone address the issue of climate change.”

The event started two years ago in Sydney, Australia where 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour.

In 2008, the message spread to 50 million people all over the world and it’s became a global sustainability movement.

This year earthhour.org set a goal for 1 billion participants worldwide to “Vote Earth.”

Fredericton heard the message loud and clear.

Mayor Brad Woodside said in a press release that Earth Hour is exactly what Fredericton’s Green Matters campaign is all about.

“Turn out your lights and turn on your commitment to saving the planet.”

Knox says that the City did a great job this year with Earth Hour.

“There was publicity downtown and around the city, and places like the Regent Mall and other major businesses downtown … all participated,” she said.

“It is a good initiative as it reaches out to the global community and in major cities…to make this “green” activity attractive to maybe, a lot of people who otherwise would not care.”

Second-year student Krystle Cail blames lack of advertisement on campus for the low participation.

She said the only reason she knew about Earth Hour last year was through a Facebook group.

She said if there was more advertising on campus, she would have participated, and she believes a lot of other students would have as well.

“I can contribute just an hour to help something out, and I think if more people knew about it…[they] would actually participate,” Cail said.

STU’s Students for Sustainability played host to the third annual “Boost Your Eco Festival” in the lobby of Brian Mulroney Hall on the St. Thomas University campus. Those who attended participated in the powerless hour on March 28 at 8:30 p.m., but the entire the university community did not.

Knox commended Students for Sustainability and their hard work around campus to create initiative for an environmentally friendly community, but she knows it’s not enough.

“[Earth Hour] indicates where we could be…to where we are in our daily activities and way of life.”

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