Taking ‘60’ for sustainability

With dimly lit candles covering the Quad, students from the EcoHawks gathered together Saturday night to celebrate the sixth annual Earth Hour to boost sustainable and environmental awareness.
The EcoHawks worked with the university to dim or shut of various lights around campus. Wilf’s, in particular, held a candle-lit dinner service from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for the Earth Hour festivities.

“It’s one of the biggest movements in the world for environmental sustainability and I think it’s great how many people are participating in it, we’re happy to do it as well,”

The EcoHawks gathered in the Quad and placed candles to advocate for the sixth annual Earth Hour (Photo by Justin Smirlies).

explained Erin O’Neill, a fourth-year environmental studies student and the events coordinator for the Eco Hawks.

In the middle of the Quad candles were formed into the shape of a 60, the number the World Wildlife Fund uses to symbolize Earth Hour.

“It’s sort of the big symbol of Earth hour, turning your energy off for 60 minutes and then going beyond that and trying to be more energy efficient for the whole year,” she added. “Wilf’s is currently doing a candle-lit dinner for us right now, so we gave them a little tea light and they have turned their lights off,” she continued. “They didn’t want to turn off the hockey game, but that’s understandable.”

For the past couple of years, the EcoHawks have been putting on Earth Hour events on campus with the consistent theme of using candles. Claire Bennett, the sustainability coordinator at Laurier, applauded the campus group on their efforts in advocating for Earth Hour.

“The sustainability office is super happy to see the out reach of events taking place because these events need to be done visible for the public, because we can be doing a ton behind the scenes,” Bennett explained.

“I’m really proud of the Eco Hawks for being such a presence on campus because that really works to help the behavioural side of things.”

She added, “And behavioural changes are just as important or if not more important than operational changes.”

While some residences were involved in dimming their lights, not every building’s lights were shut off due to safety reasons. “Obviously they can’t turn all of the lights off, especially the emergency ones, and they have been promoting it in residences so first-year students know that it’s Earth Hour,” added O’Neill.

In terms of sustainability outside of Earth Hour, however, O’Neill thinks strides can still be made to increase awareness on campus.

“I think we can definitely do better. We’ve come a long way as a school, especially now that we have the sustainability office up and running and that there is a strong leader in there now, things are happening, things are improving,” she concluded.

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