The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Administration takes part in Earth Hour

Katie Peralta | Monday, March 31, 2008

Notre Dame experienced a sight unfamiliar to campus Saturday night -a majestic, stately, but unlit Golden Dome.

In accordance with a project known as Earth Hour, the University turned off the lights of the Golden Dome and the library mural Saturday night from 8 to 9 p.m.

Earth Hour, a global event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, began last March 31 in Sydney, Australia in an effort to decrease the city’s carbon emissions, according to AustraliaEnergy.com.

Businesses as well as individuals committed to the hour-long effort to raise awareness about energy conservation, and to help find a way to reduce their impact on the environment, according to EarthHour.org.

Sophomore Mark McGuire learned about Earth Hour when in Chicago at a restaurant that advertised the effort, he said. He returned to campus and researched it, hoping to enact something similar at the University.

“When I heard that Earth Hour was an international event and included great landmarks such as the Sears Tower and Wrigley Field, I thought that we should do something here at Notre Dame,” McGuire said.

McGuire, who lives in Keough Hall, said he described the project to his rector, Fr. Pete McCormick, and convinced him to turn off the dorm’s lights.

He then told junior Luke McCormick about Earth Hour and the pair decided to convince the University to take action.

The two contacted Director of Utilities Paul Kempf Friday afternoon asking the University to turn off the lights of some of its buildings.

“The speed with which the University moved clearly attests to the fact that energy conservation and responsibility to the environment are held as high priorities within the Administration,” McGuire said.

Junior Lourdes Long echoed McGuire’s sentiments.

“[Turning off the lights of the two buildings] was really a visual commitment to this effort,” said Long, a commissioner to the Energy and Environmental Issues Committee.

McGuire said he didn’t know if the University would agree to turn off its lights because of the short notification.

“We figured that such late notice would make the task of getting through all the institutional red tape nearly impossible, but we felt it was at least worth a try,” McGuire said.

Long said students played a significant role in spreading the role about the movement.

“Environmental commissioners at each dorm are highly involved. The halls are a great way to spread the word,” said Long.

McGuire said Keough Hall president Eddie Kremier helped him to contact the President’s Hall Council so it could encourage other dorms to participate.

McGuire said also South Dining Hall manager Dawn Dieter aided in turning off the lights of South Saturday evening.