By Jonathan Wade

The Red River College Students’ Association is encouraging students to participate in powering down all electricity for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 24.

The Students’ Association is having students sign up for a pledge that will have them power down between 8:30-9:30 PM on Saturday.

For taking the pledge, students are entered to win a series of different prizes, given by the Sustainability Committee in the Students’ Association. Laura Hnatiuk, who works in the sustainability office at Red River College says the prizes go hand in hand with Earth Hour. “The prizes are different board games, organic snacks, and locally-made candles,” says Hnatiuk. “They are activities you can do that don’t need electricity to have fun with.”

When a student signs up for the pledge, they can fill out their name on a piece of paper shaped like a light bulb. After Earth Hour is finished, the light bulbs will be displayed on a wall at the Notre Dame Red River College campus.

Kelsey Gillespie, the vice president academic of the Red River College Students’ Association believes it is important to have students participate in Earth Hour. “Students in post-secondary education are open to learning and transforming,” says Gillespie. “Getting students involved in earth hour is a great way to promote positive environmental initiatives outside of the classroom, and get students excited about making the commitment to sustainability on campus.”

Earth Hour is a movement that started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. According to the Earth Hour website, it started out as a grassroots movement for the environment, but now has millions of people participating every year. It is coordinated by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Gillespie says that Red River College has quite a few green initiatives, and they continue to think of new ways to stay green. “Red River College has a sustainability committee that puts on events and plans programs to promote sustainable initiatives,” says Gillespie. “We have been selected as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for seven consecutive years.”

Not only is Red River College encouraging students to participate in earth hour, but the college itself will be shutting off all of their non-essential lights on Saturday night during Earth Hour.