Campus Black-Out: Thursday, Week 8!

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A proposed ‘campus black-out’ is currently in the works to raise awareness about Lancaster’s use of energy. Planned for Thursday 29th November between 6pm and 9pm, the event aims to encourage students to think about how their uses of electricity are affecting the environment.

The scheme, which is being led by Rosalia O’Reilly (Vice President for Equality, Welfare and Diversity) and Laura Hyman (Environmental Cross Campus Officer), follows in the footsteps of the ‘Save the Penguins’ campus campaign. It is hoped that all staff and students will get involved by turning off their lights and plunging campus into darkness for one night. This is especially pertinent given the University’s recent poor energy rating.

Hyman spoke to SCAN, saying: “A problem we face on campus is that bills are included within accommodation fees and so many students don’t bother to do even the simplest of things that would save energy, as they are not having to pay for the amount of energy they consume”.

The Lancaster University website states that ‘the management of energy consumption and carbon emissions are arguably the two most important issues currently affecting Lancaster University’ and poor rating comes in contrast to the University’s recent attempts to improve the way buildings are managed and made eco-friendly. The LICA building, in particular, was created with energy-preservation in mind, for which it gained an ‘Outstanding BRE Environmental Assessment Method’ accreditation.

The University website also states that the energy targets they hope to meet over the next few years are being achieved through ‘optimisation of building management systems and implementation of a variety of energy efficiency projects’. Josh Walker of SCAN also reported recently on the installation of the new campus wind turbine, which is thought to provide 11-17% of the University’s electricity and is part of a chain of improvements which the University plans to implement in order to become more eco-friendly.

However, it is not just the University which can make a difference. By encouraging students to take responsibility for their own carbon footprint, Lancaster will become a greener place much more quickly.

Both O’Reilly and Hyman strongly encourage all students to participate. It is important to remember that the only way to really make an impact is for every student living on campus to participate by turning off their lights and embracing an eco-friendly attitude.

LA1: TV will be filming the events as they happen, and O’Reilly hopes that they will be able to get a panoramic view of campus to capture the impact of the black-out, saying that the equipment used to film the event will be calculated as part of the energy emissions for the evening: ‘We are hoping to run it off the equivalent energy it takes to boil a kettle and light a bedroom’.

There will also be a wide range of activities in Alexandra Square to persuade people to get out and get involved. Hyman explained: ‘LUSU Gives will also be at the event… and they will be raising money for a local community group called the Fairfield Association, with whom Green Lancaster quite frequently volunteers’. O’Reilly added that there will hopefully be live on-stage music, as well as ‘food vendors, and small marquees held by environmental societies… to spread awareness’.

There will also be a chance to learn more about energy-saving measures and how to help sustain our planet, as ‘throughout the event [those involved] are going to try and inform students of how much energy things use and how much energy can be saved by making simple changes to the way people do things’.

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