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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Res Life Eco-Reps host fifth annual Earth Hour event

Ernie Somoza
Ernie Somoza/Arizona Daily Wildcat Residents turned off their lights and electronics for Earth Hour and flocked to the University of Arizona Mall saturday night to enjoy entertainment hosted by Residence Hall Association. The event featured performances from the Charles Darwin Experience, Elemental Artistry, and Planet Djembe.

Eco-Reps in Residence Life will take a stand this weekend against climate change.

The UA’s fifth annual Earth Hour will take place on the UA Mall from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Participants will actively work to save energy on campus and show their support for the environment.

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement that originated in Sydney in March 2007, according to More than 2 million Sydney residents and more than 2,000 businesses turned off their lights for one hour to “take a stand against climate change.” Five years later, the movement is being followed by people across the globe, and occurs annually on the final Saturday in March.

The UA’s Earth Hour celebration continues to grow after it began as a gathering of around 20 people on the UA Mall, according to Jill Ramirez, sustainability education coordinator for residence education. While Earth Hour itself is only one hour long from 8:30 to 9:30, events will last two hours.

Since the first celebration, a lineup of electricity-free performances has been added. Turnout has grown and last year about 200 people attended the events on the Mall. Ramirez said 250 people are expected to attend this year’s celebration.

Returning performers will include Planet Djembe drumming, the Charles Darwin Experience comedy troupe and Elemental Artistry fire dancing. New to this year’s lineup is Noteriety, an a capella singing group.

While the idea behind Earth Hour is to entirely avoid using electricity for an hour, electricity has to be used in order to provide certain services for the event, Ramirez said.

Papa John’s will provide free pizza for the event, and has agreed to purchase “carbon offsets” to make up for the electricity they will use. Offsetting the electricity essentially involves donating money to sources that use renewable energy like wind farms. The Student Union Memorial Center will also provide organic fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, because of Risk Management policies, lights on the Mall must be left on. However, because the events will remain on the west end of the Mall, Ramirez said organizers have been allowed to turn out the lights east of Cherry Avenue to Campbell Avenue to offset this electricity use as well. Funding for the celebration comes directly from Residence Life out of the Eco-Rep’s budget.

The UA’s Earth Hour event is the group’s largest event of the year, according to David Hager, Eco-Reps president and a freshman studying English and biochemistry. Hager said he hopes the event’s turnout grows every year, and looks forward to showing the UA community that the residents on campus are aware of the environment.

“I think the main goal is to just educate the residents on what’s going on,” Hager said. “It’s important to show that college students … have a sense of what’s going on and that we have passions, as well. The youth can make a difference.”

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