Campus Earth Day event and Earth Hour activities mark times for reflection, action

March 25, 2011

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Office of Sustainability will host its annual Campus Earth Day event on April 1, with various activities throughout the day. This weekend, lights will go out on some buildings on campus to recognize Earth Hour.

At 11:30 a.m. on April 1 at the Plaza of the Americas, President Bernie Machen will deliver his State of Sustainability address, followed by a presentation of this year’s Sustainable Solutions Awards.

From 1 to 5 p.m., students, staff and faculty will also have the opportunity to dispose of personal hazardous or electronic waste, and donate unwanted clothing, shoes, books, school supplies and nonperishable food items at four locations across campus: the commuter lot near Hume Hall, the O’Connell Center parking lot, the Plaza of the Americas and Broward Beach behind the Broward Residence Hall.

The office has moved its event to earlier in the month to avoid conflict with the end of classes and reading days. “We hope this will provide an opportunity to reach the campus community — especially students — before final papers and exams preoccupy schedules, while also allowing us to promote other campus and community Earth Day events happening throughout the month,” said Anna Prizzia, director of the Office of Sustainability.

Prior to the event, lights around several recognizable buildings on campus will go dark as the university observes Earth Hour for the fourth year. Earth Hour is a worldwide effort to turn off lights to help raise awareness on energy consumption and conservation, and officially takes place for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m. March 26. At UF, nonessential lighting at various locations will be turned off for the duration of the weekend, such as those at Century Tower and on fountains and outdoor art installations.

Additionally, the digital marquees at campus entrances on University Avenue and 34th Street will also go dark Friday evening through Saturday morning, and spots within and outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the O’Connell Center will also go dim for the weekend.

On April 22, the Shands’ Green Team will host its own Earth Hour encouraging employees to turn off what they can. They offer suggestions such as halting printing for an hour, turning off an office light and spending a lunch-break picking up litter, or being extra vigilant at the end of the day to make sure all lights and machines are switched off.

Students on and off campus, as well as staff and faculty, are encouraged to participate in conjunction with this year’s Earth Hour, and on an ongoing basis through the office’s Chomp Down on Energy campaign.

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, and became a global event in 2008 when more than 4,000 cities around the world participated. In 2010, 128 countries were represented among the participants, making it the biggest Earth Hour to date.

More information on Sustainable UF’s Earth Day activities and a map of drop-off spots at the collection site can be found at www.sustainable/ For more information about Earth Hour, visit