Environmentalists ‘enlighten’ area

The FAMU Green Coalition completed its first initiative Sunday toward the organization’s overall mission to create a safer environment with the “Change a Light for Daylight Savings Campaign.”

Approximately 80 volunteers from FAMU, Leon County high schools and various community organizations gathered in the gallery of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication to organize the 2,500 free compact light bulbs donated by the City of Tallahassee.

The volunteers then went out into Tallahassee’s Southside and Frenchtown communities to give residents compact fluorescent light bulbs in exchange for their old incandescent bulbs.

LaRae Donnellan, co-chair of the FAMU Green Coalition, said CFLs are energy-efficient. “CFL’s last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75 percent less energy,” she said. “(The bulbs) save $75 in energy over their lifetime.”

In addition to providing CFL bulbs, volunteers also gave residents information about conserving energy and pledge forms to encourage people to educate others about this issue. Volunteers and coordinators said members of the community were very responsive to the efforts of the coalition. 

“We were really surprised,” said Aaron White, co-chair of the Green Campus Coalition.

“A lot of people already knew we were coming, and some of them were waiting on their doorsteps with their old bulbs.”

Residents had the opportunity to receive up to four free CFLs during the campaign. At the end of the day, volunteers gave out more than 2,300 energy-efficient light bulbs and collected more than 1,000 traditional bulbs.

“I think it’s amazing,” Donnellan said. “I was very pleased with the turnout, especially considering its Spring Break Sunday.”

Many students said they enjoyed working with the Green Coalition on this initiative because they learned a lot about the environment and had the opportunity to meet new people.

“(Donnellan) introduced the initiative in class, and I decided to participate because I wanted to help the earth,” said Nicolette Daniel, 20, a junior public relations student from Jacksonville.

“We had fun,” said Wesetly Francois, a sophomore criminal justice student from Miami. “It’s a good thing helping out the community. I wish more people would get involved with efforts such as this.”

Organizers said the “Change a Light for Daylight Savings Campaign” is the first of many to come.

“We would like to do this again,” said White, an environmental science doctoral student from El Paso. “The city has a lot more (bulbs) to give out.”

White said the coalition is planning to implement more initiatives to educate people and decrease the carbon footprint, a term used to describe people’s role in contributing to global warming.

“There are a lot of small things that we can do to help the environment,”White said.

According to Donnellan, the coalition is currently focusing on making FAMU a green campus.

“We want to decrease the University’s energy use,” she said.

“We want to start with recycling, which is another big initiative. To me it’s incumbent upon us to do something. I have a son, I teach young people and I want there to be a world for all of us.”