Students Shine Light on Energy Problem

Freshman Park Scholars organize NC State’s first Energy Awareness Week.

On April 7, the lights went off at NC State. And five freshman Park Scholars were responsible.

Thursday, April 7, was “Blackout Night” where students turned their lights off and enjoyed free music, refreshments and glow-in-the-dark sports on Harris Field. The event marked the finale of NC State’s first Energy Awareness Week, the collective brainchild of William Arrington, Sarah Brumbaugh, Korey Hite, Sarah Kim and Cynthia Rouf.

Calling themselves the “Light Savers,” the group began planning the week-long initiative in September, as part of the Park Scholarships first-year leadership course. Their goal is making NC State an energy-efficient community; Educating the campus community is the first step.

As the University’s population of students has increased, so has its energy consumption. Last year, NC State spent $14 million on electricity alone, ten percent of the state’s total utility budget. While the Light Savers hope to raise awareness of energy conservation issues that face the world, they plan to start by informing students about conservation opportunities on campus.

From April 4-7, the students promoted speakers, exhibitions and information sessions. The week kicked off with free solar-baked cookies and sun tea on the Brickyard, with booths representing NC State’s enviromentalism groups and 2005 model hybrid vehicles on display. On Tuesday, North Carolina Energy Officer Larry Shirley and John Masiello, manager of Demand Side Management and Alternative Energy Strategies for Progress Energy Florida, spoke to students at the Witherspoon cinema. Other displays included vegetable-oil powered cars and an energy bike which showed students how much energy they can produce.

Support for the week’s events came from the Park program, Youth Ventures, the Students for Sustainable Energy and the NC State Sustainability Coalition. For more information, visit the article in NC State’s Technician.