Do It In The Dark Competition Achieves Record Energy Reduction

In the fifth year of Haverford’s annual energy conservation competition, the College reduced electricity consumption by 10 percent, saving about 6,200 kWh over its three-week period.

For the fifth time, the Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER) has challenged Haverford’s students to cut their energy consumption via the annual Do It In The Dark (DIITD) competition. The three-week contest, held this year from Feb. 17 through March 9, pitted residence halls against one another in a head-to-head competition to see which ones could achieve the largest percentage energy reduction. The goal: to raise awareness about energy consumption habits while also exposing students to ideas of conservation and the work of local sustainability initiatives.

That goal was more than met. This year’s Do It In The Dark competition reduced energy consumption across all dorms by the largest percentage in contest history. Collectively, the College reduced electricity consumption by 10 percent, saving about 6,200 kWh over the three-week period. 

Do It In The Dark organizers illuminated by Luci solar-powered inflatable lamps.
(From left) Do It In The Dark organizers Vaidehi Agarwalla ’20, Jeremy Graf Evans ’18, Johnluca Fenton ’21, Abby Singer ’20, and Malin Ehrsam ’18 illuminated by Luci solar-powered inflatable lamps.

Barclay Hall, which competed against fellow first-year dorm Gummere, set the individual dorm record with a 20.7 percent energy reduction, securing its place as this year’s overall winner. Barclay residents will celebrate that win with a banquet consisting of locally sourced desserts, a bike raffle, and a championship arboretum tree planting. The banquet and bike raffle will take place March 24 in tandem with “Earth Hour” and will include opportunities to sign up for local energy-related campaigns. The tree will be planted near Barclay during CER’s Earth Week activities, which begin April 22.

Even though Barclay beat Gummere, they still came in second place overall by reducing their energy consumption by 17 percent. Leeds Hall, which went head-to-head against Lloyd, reduced their electricity usage by 12.5 percent, coming it at third place. (The inter-dorm competitions also included Comfort vs. Lunt and Kim vs. Tritton.) The whole community could follow along with the energy savings in real time via the College’s building dashboard

In order to spotlight the many ways in which college students can live more sustainably, the CER collaborated with more clubs, dorms, organizations, and sports teams to host DIITD-related events. Those events included a Haverfarm symposium, an eHaus dinner, a Skate House sing-a-long, a Nerd House game night, a screening of Saving Snow, a Throng comedy show, a glow-in-the-dark game of Ultimate Frisbee, and an electricity-free orange-juice-pressing event with ETHOS.

“This year our goal was to encourage broader engagement across the community outside of just turning off lights, … to think more widely about ideas of conservation,” said Jeremy Graf Evans ‘18, a CER Working Group member and outreach assistant. “We wanted to collaborate with a lot more groups on campus to get people… into spaces where sustainability was highlighted or subliminally involved in all corners of the campus.”

According to Evans, the CER hoped the competition would magnify and shape Haverford’s influence as an institution, community, and, ultimately, as an educator of individuals who consider their environmental impact on campus and beyond.

The CER’s Do It In The Dark Working Group, in collaboration with DIITD’s student collaborators and Dorm EcoReps, worked together to make the event a success. With the conclusion of the competition, the Committee for Environmental Responsibility is looking forward to hosting more collaborative events in the near future with student groups to continue campus community involvement related to energy and climate-change issues.