Without access to electricity, 1.3 billion people around the world live in the dark once the sun sets each night.
This April 22, students and faculty at West Virginia University will come together to help “light up the night.”
As part of Earth Day celebrations, members of the WVU community are invited to stop by 702 Allen Hall between 11:30 a.m. 2 p.m. to help assemble solar panels and light kits that will later be delivered to an orphanage in Kenya.
The project is being held in conjunction with Party In The Dark, a worldwide movement initiated by New Vision Renewable Energy in Philippi, W.Va., to raise awareness and resources for those without electricity.
Chris Haddox, visiting assistant professor of sustainable design in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, is coordinating the campus event.
“Without access to clean sources of energy to power homes, schools and buildings, many of those affected burn kerosene to create light,” Haddox said. “Not only is this hazardous to their health, but it’s also expensive.”
During the hour and a half event, Haddox will lead participants in assembling light kits run by solar-powered batteries. He estimates the 18-inch unit and accompanying five-volt battery will generate eight to nine hours of light.
“We really want to do our part to help provide a reliable light source that won’t break the bank or hurt their lungs,” he said.
Representing a key component of WVU’s 2020 Strategic Plan for the Future, specifically its goal of advancing international activity and global engagement, Haddox believes the event will help students think beyond their local communities.
“While we live in separate cities, states and countries, we can’t sit in isolation and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t exist,” he said. “As a world community it’s important to address sustainability concerns together.”
Although this is the first time WVU has participated in the Party In The Dark event, Haddox hopes to make this an annual event.
“I’d love to do this again,” he said. “This is a great way to bring awareness to energy and sustainability issues communities around the world face day in and day out.”
If you’re interested in participating, e-mail Haddox at Chris.Haddox@mail.wvu.edu prior to Monday’s event.
CONTACT: Chris Haddox, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design
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