Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Earthlust, Swarthmore’s environmental group, held its annual Storm the Dorms on Monday. The group spread the word about important campus environmental issues including energy conservation and recycling.
On Monday night, fourteen members of Earthlust visited all dorms housing first-year students to pass out information as well as to survey students about their own energy usage. Earthlust primarily targeted freshmen since many upper classmen were “stormed” during their first year at Swarthmore. According to Earthlust coordinators E.B. Fouts ’07 and Kristy Simmons ’07, members of their group spoke to about one hundred students on Monday night.
Most of Earthlust’s questions and information dealt with computer and light usage. The group suggests to turn off computer speakers and printers when they are not being used. Earthlust recommends automatically setting computers to go to sleep when not in use; their suggested settings are 10 minutes without use for the monitor and 30 minutes for the hard disk.
Earthlust members also stress using fluorescent bulbs (instead of incandescent ones) as they save energy. Fouts and Simmons also pointed out that number 5 plastics, used in yogurt and various other containers, are now recyclable as are the number 1 and 2 plastics as in past years.
Earthlust also notes that doing laundry is another large component of energy use, and using drying racks helps in part to reduce this problem. According to preliminary data taken during Storm the Dorms, Fouts said, “A lot of people would be interested in buying [drying racks] if they were available.”
Simmons noted that Storm the Dorms is and has been useful because it helps Earthlust “get a sense of what student feelings are.” She added that the event gets people interested and asking questions. Since some of Swarthmore’s energy comes from wind power, a relatively expensive yet environmentally friendly option, Earthlust tries to educate members of the campus community on energy conservation in order to help reduce costs.
Aside from Storm the Dorms, Earthlust is planning to work with Sharples to get more organic and local produce as well as a lower amount of Styrofoam products. In addition, the group is hoping to increase the levels or double sided printing and is working on maintaining the current recycling program.