Green Cup Challenge in Action: Unplugged Day

Madeline Cohen

Staff Writer

We’ve all heard the announcements at gathering and seen the posters, drawn on recycled paper: February eighteenth gets Latin one step closer to saving the Earth. This Tuesday marks an “Unplugged Day,” part of the Green Cup Challenge (a month long, inter-school competition that educates students on the significance of climate change and conservation.) This will be the fourth year that this event has been held in lower, middle, and upper schools. Our collective goal for the day is to use as little electricity as possible, “unplugging” ourselves from many sources of energy that we use daily, and often take for granted.

So what changes and challenges should students and faculty expect to face? One of the most noticeable differences will be an effort to keep all lights turned off, using windows and natural sunlight in place of usual artificial sources. While we would normally hold control over the lights with the flick of a switch, Unplugged Day will require us to think more deeply about our actions. We will consider how what we do—even something as basic as turning on a light—can be detrimental to our planet. Similarly, everyone is also encouraged to reduce the usage of the printer and copier. While perhaps not as habitual as turning on a light, we will once again be reminded how our actions can cause waste.

On Unplugged Day, we will also be asked to unplug electronic devices as much as possible–an aspect that may easily prove to be the most challenging of all. Not only will we be removing ourselves from our electronic phones and computers—we will be detaching ourselves from our emails and social media accounts, and even the Internet in the process. In today’s society, and in our school community, the majority of people will admit to spending a great amount of time on these devices. Will this separation be seen as a burden, complicating communication and the usual simplicity of finding solutions to problems? Or will it allow for greater productivity, these devices’ distractions having been removed? Either way, this will force many people to consider how much time and energy is spent each day on their electronics, and the consequences of these actions.

Even with everything the school plans on doing, it is important to realize how impactful one Unplugged Day really is in the grand scheme of things. In reality, one especially earth-conscious day a year isn’t enough to change the school’s energy statistics. It does, however, instill an important message in all participants. Mr. Cronister, who helped in the planning and organization of the day commented that,“…the small percentage of reduction we will make on February eighteenth is not as important as the educational focus of having everyone think about ways we can reduce energy consumption every day!  The amount of energy we use to heat/cool the building is huge (even when we drop the temperature a degree or two during the Green Cup Challenge).” Although it may just be one day, its messages can be applied for years to come. Next week’s Unplugged Day might just make Latin a more earth-conscious, more appreciative community.

For further reading on the Green Cup Challenge, see