Turn off the lights, ignite learning

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Lights Out Mt. A draws attention to climate change
ARTICLE |  | BY ELISE DOLINSKY

Last Friday, March 30, the Mount Allison campus went dark in support of the seventh annual Lights Out Mt. A. Across campus, students, staff and faculty took part by turning their lights out to raise awareness for climate change in preparation for the national Lights Out Canada Day.
Fourth-year student Keleigh Annau founded Lights Out Canada in 2005 when she was sixteen, having been inspired to take action against global warming after attending the Youth Climate Change Conference in BC.
“The conference was run by a seventeen year-old girl who knew so much about the environment and climate change,” said Annau, “My mind was blown.” Soon after she returned home, Annau developed Lights Out with a couple of her friends in an attempt to improve education around climate change. “The lights are just a symbolic way to get attention,” she said, “What we really do is provide schools with a climate change curriculum.”
Annau quickly built a network of peers to expand the project across and beyond Canadian borders; she has managed to coordinate the project from wherever she is, be it her hometown of Parksville, BC; Trieste, Italy where she studied at the United World College; or here in Sackville. The rapid growth of the project is very impressive. Recently Lights Out has begun to recruit and train student ambassadors to help coordinate and run the program.
Now in her final year at Mt. A, Annau is impressed by how the University has embraced the project, with student and school participation growing significantly. Mt. A is currently the only university participating in Lights Out, and the only school with its own Lights Out day.
“The relationships we have developed have become so much more meaningful over the past years,” Annau shared, “We are receiving a lot more recognition.”  Annau isn’t too worried about the future of Lights Out Mt. A. She feels that after she graduates, the project will be in good hands with the students at Mt. A and the group’s provincial ambassadors.
Annau has been accepted into the universities of Columbia, Harvard, Oxford  and the University of California, Berkeley. She plans to continue her leadership over Lights Out Canada after leaving Mt. A, but wants it to become self-sufficient: “Hopefully, one day Lights Out will completely be in [the provincial ambassadors] hands,” she said.
Lights Out Canada will take place April 20, where secondary schools around the world will participate and teach their students about climate change. Last year nearly 400 schools from ten different countries participated. Annau expects an even higher level of participation this year.
On Friday tables were set up around campus where students could sign up to receive a customizable letter to send to their former schools, encouraging them to register for Lights Out. So far this year over 210 schools have already signed up, and many students have signed up to petition their high schools to join.
Lights Out Canada stresses that “it only takes one person turning off one light to make a difference,” and there is still plenty of time to join and get your own school to participate. Anyone interested or wanting more information can visit the Lights Out Canada Facebook page, register directly on the website (lightsoutcanada.tpweb.ca) or email lightsoutcanada@gmail.com