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Turn off the lights

Laura Myers | Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When I was little, my parents gave me a lot of instructions. They told me to duck if someone throws a softball at my head and I can’t catch it. They told me not to bite the cat, regardless if it bit me first.

They also told me that I should always, always, always, turn off a light when I leave a room. Just flipping a switch saves them money, saves the light bulb, and saves energy.

Now that I’m almost 20 years old, that seems like common sense. Which is why I was surprised at what I saw on Thursday and Friday as I walked home from Legends.

On Thursday, my friend Katie and I went to Legends for their poker league. It ended at 2:30 a.m. (Katie came in third or fourth). We live in Cavanaugh, so we walked past Debartolo and O’Shag and then into the little alley comprised of Hayes-Healy, Riley, and Nieuwland. Interestingly enough, literally all of the lights in Hayes-Healy were on, and several in Nieuwland.

On Friday, my friends and I went to the comedians, who were disgusting, by the way. I’m all for a dirty joke, but these guys, the second one especially, went above and beyond what anyone would consider reasonable. Half the time, the crowd, rather than laughing, just stared at him open-mouthed. Come on man, know your audience.

Anyway, I walked back from that a little after midnight. This time, a good two-thirds of the lights in Nieuwland were still on. Now, I know some teachers love to hear themselves talk, but I don’t think there were any physics lectures that continued to midnight on Friday.

This year I happened to shack up with two environmental science majors, so my literacy in all things Green has gone up a bit, which is why I’m fairly up in arms about this. I mean, Notre Dame just won a $10,000 award for its sustainability efforts, but they can’t turn off some lights?

And maybe if it were just one or two lights, I could understand the slip up. But as I said, it was literally the entire building on Thursday night, and a majority on Friday. There is just no excuse for that.

Story formula: Present the problem. Present the reasons for the problem. Present solutions to the problem.

So here are some solutions. 1) Make sure you have a custodian go around and check that kind of thing. GreenND wants suggestions of what to do with the money it won – why not use it to ensure lights get turned off? 2) Let us do it for you. I bet that volunteers from Cavanaugh (the winners of RecycleMania last year), would have no problem heading over to Nieuwland and turning off lights. It’s one of those things that’s not hard to do. 3) Turn off the light when you leave a room.

Of course, a five-year old could tell you that.