NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Reports about global warming and our nation’s rapid consumption of natural resources can seem daunting and can leave people wondering how they, personally, can really make a difference.
The students of Bethel College’s Environmental Action Club (EAC) have initiated a month-long Energy Reduction Campaign to raise awareness not only of the impact of global warming but also of ways individuals can make wiser use of energy and natural resources.
Events began Feb. 1 with participation in a worldwide “Lights Out” effort, calling on people around the globe to turn off their lights and appliances from 7:55-8 p.m. in their local time zones. The event intentionally coincided with a meeting in France of the United Nations council on climate change.
On Monday, Feb. 5, there will be a free public showing of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s 2006 documentary about the necessity of combating global warming. The film is at 8 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center, with a brief question-and-answer period to follow.
Students living in residence halls on campus are invited to participate in an energy-saving challenge to see which residence hall can use the smallest amount of energy per capita throughout the month. The winning hall will receive a Druber’s Donuts party, as well as drawings for gift certificates to local businesses.
Additionally, the Bethel College Bookstore will sell energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs for only $1 each and EAC members will post stickers around campus reminding people to turn out lights when they leave the room and to save water by taking shorter showers.
“It’s easy to feel like you can’t really make a difference when it comes to widescale energy use,” said one of the event’s main organizers, Miriam Friesen, junior from Paoli, Ind., “especially in an institution where you don’t have direct power over larger administrative decisions.”
She continued, “We hope this month encourages students to develop habits that will help them take charge of their own personal energy use and impact on the environment.”
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.