By Julie Garber
Photos by David Roswell
On October 10, 2010, Oberlin college students and the surrounding community collaborated in a way never quite done before. Similar to the traditional Day of Service event for freshmen, students came together in a joint volunteering effort. However, unlike the Day of Service, the “10/10/10” sites were all geared toward environmental sustainability.
The purpose of this event, which occurred worldwide, was to reduce carbon emissions in an innovative and more efficient manner. Instead of having rallies or protests demanding emission cuts, this event aimed to involve people in their communities in a “Global Work Party”. As explained by www.350.org, the brainchild of the event, such community involvement was meant to send the political message: “If we can get to work, so can you!”
Corey Harkins took the initiative to organize Oberlin’s 10/10/10 event. When asked what inspired him to bring this event to Oberlin, he enthusiastically explained, “I think service is so important in gauging our humanity. Service is what makes us human.”
The Bonner Center and the Resource Conservation Team, both of which provided equipment, advice, tools, and money necessary for the event, cosponsored 10/10/10. These service organizations show the countless ways that we can get involved in our community. The Resource Conservation Team, for example, gets students to volunteer in protecting the environment while taking their interests into consideration.
The event began at 1:00 p.m. About forty volunteers signed up through a pre-registration form, but many people just showed up to desk in Wilder Bowl and were sent to various sites. Although some site leaders came a little late, by 2:00 p.m., every site had people working.
Sites included Full Circle Fuels, George Jones Farm, and the Johnson House garden. Several students removed invasive species behind Kahn, while others audited energy at various locations throughout campus. One group, in particular, changed light bulbs in Wilder. Corey explained that changing 25 light bulbs would save about $4,000, even taking the price of the light bulbs into consideration.
A total of 7,347 people in 188 different countries participated in 10/10/10, making a huge splash and hopefully encouraging political leaders to work on environmental legislation.