Franklin & Marshall College students, faculty live in tent in green campaign - LancasterOnline: News

Franklin & Marshall College students, faculty live in tent in green campaign

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Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 9:57 am | Updated: 3:25 pm, Wed Sep 11, 2013.

One gallon of water, two hours of electricity, organic food, no meat.

That would be your sustenance for one day.

Could you do it? Could you simplify your daily routine by living lightly to help save our planet?

That is precisely what a few dozen Franklin & Marshall College students and faculty living in a tent are doing to draw attention to the issue of sustainable living.

The campers are spending one day in the tent in the middle of campus.

The campus campers hope to make the point that society needs to provide energy use that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations.

The idea behind "Camping for Change" came from 21-year-old seniors Sam McLaughlin from Baltimore and Henry Fandel from Montclair, N.J.

Both said they are from environmentally conscious families.

"My twin brother is an environmental studies major at the University of Vermont," Fandel said. "The knowledge he has acquired at school has trickled into our home and has definitely changed the way we live."

McLaughlin, a theater major, said, "We wanted to highlight proactive solutions and empower people to take care of our environment by focusing on essential factors like food, shelter and energy."

"I thought about how we could influence a lot of people if we could just talk about it and expose them to it," he explained.

Fandel and McLaughlin decided to set up a tent on a platform in the middle of campus.

They had planned to live in it the entire semester. But then they decided to recruit other students to be part of the experience. Fifty students signed up.

The tent is occupied by a different student or faculty member every day.

Inside the tent, a camper will find three sleeping bags, a pillow, water and a journal.

While in the tent, they pledge to use only one gallon of water, two hours of electricity if needed and maintain a sustainable diet of local, organic food and no meat.

"We don't restrict their diet, but we do ask them to be sensible about what they consume," Fandel said.

Each camper then records energy use and writes about the experience in the journal.

"This is not a hard thing to do for anyone," McLaughlin said. "It's not a big sacrifice, but it helps people understand and rethink their use of energy.

"Just think about how much energy we consume in college housing alone," said McLaughlin. "It's about taking small steps."

"The tent is a fun thing to do while we raise awareness, but turning the lights off in your room when you leave, no 10-minute showers … all these little things add up," said Fandel, who is studying the science behind animal behavior.

"We are now ambassadors of this concept," McLaughlin said. "Everyone who comes to the tent becomes part of the message."

The tent will be kept up until Dec. 7, the day when delegates converge on Copenhagen, Denmark, for a United Nations climate-change conference.

"Those talks will dictate the future of our planet," said McLaughlin.

"Our effort is symbolic and is very small compared to the larger scale of the issue," he said. "But it is a testimony of what can be done."

McLaughlin and Fandel plan to have a campuswide event the day the international conference begins. They also plan to bike across the country after their graduation in May to raise money for 4Walls International, a non-profit organization that builds sustainable shelters in developing countries.

Their bike trip will end in Mexico, where they will work with 4Walls for the remainder of the summer, said McLaughlin.

"This is obviously something that needs international attention," said Fandel. "Our voices together will be heard."

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