Earth Hour Team Captain: Connie Chen, sustainable student in B.C.
By Carly Digweed, Communications Intern, WWF-Canada
What brought about your involvement with Earth Hour?
When I began studying at UBC in 2011, I knew I wanted to focus my learning on sustainability, specifically regarding businesses. This interest then led me to the student group, Common Energy, working as part of the Challenges team. Our group searches for ways to influence daily behaviours, by running fun events and encouraging conversation. I quickly realized that Earth Hour would be a great opportunity to get these groups enthusiastic about community-based change.
© Common Energy UBC
Did you see this enthusiasm for change at your Earth Hour event last year?
Last year, we had an outdoor open mic night on campus, and asked our friends to perform. The response was incredible. We had nearly 100 people come out to share their talents and discuss what Earth Hour means to them. Considering our last minute plan and the number of people that came, we were extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of our attendees.
Are you planning the same event this time around? What kind of impact are you hoping it will have on your UBC student community?
We will create a similar atmosphere – hopeful, creative, grassroots – but we’re planning to have the event indoors on UBC campus and to have an even larger turnout. We want people to ask questions and realize the potential of our student community. It’s important to know that we are much more effective when everyone comes together, and Earth Hour truly represents that. We hope our event will be a strong symbol for what we can do.
© Common Energy UBC
How do you see the Earth Hour message continuing throughout the rest of the year?
Well it’s hard for us to monitor behavioral change after an interaction with Common Energy, but Earth Hour sets the tone for bigger conversations. Also, by having events like this in an academic setting, and even working with WWF, helps us to reach a wider variety of people. Conferences, seminars and workshops may distance some groups, but Earth Hour reaches out to anyone who wants a conversation, a feeling of community – or in our case – just a night of good artistic performance. I hope that the connections made on March 23 will help to continue this dialogue.
What is one thing you hope your student community will remember about Earth Hour this year?
Personally, I think it’s empowering that the environment is a topic that has become important to more and more people every year, and it’s because people are talking. I hope our community sees this and that it translates into change. Even with small-scale changes like making informed consumer choices, reducing water use, and participating in energy-conscious events like National Sweater Day, help add up to positive change and awareness. I hope this resonates with our community at UBC.
Looking for Earth Hour inspiration or suggestions for getting your student community involved in Earth Hour? Never fear, WWF is here! We have a variety of Earth Hour ideas and resources to help you get the ball rolling.
‘The ‘Earth Hour Team Captains’ blog series highlights on-the-ground leaders who are making a difference in communities all over Canada. Championing the spirit of Earth Hour with year-round actions, these individuals are making strides toward a greener future.