Bike to the Beat concert promotes sustainability

By Jessica Sacco

Hannah Cohen/Collegian

For the University of Massachusetts Eco-Rep members, powering up a concert may have broke a sweat, but didn’t break the electric bill.

In an effort to raise awareness about utilities conservation, primarily concerning wastes of electricity and water, the 37 students in the Eco-Rep Program hosted their second annual “Bike to the Beat” concert in the Cape Cod Lounge Tuesday night.

The Eco-Rep Program, a student-run group that focuses on peer-to-peer education in UMass residence halls about sustainable living, works to foster environmental literacy and practices on campus through classes, field trips and events.

Following the Eco-Rep members’ message of conserving energy, the concert featured students stationed adjacent to the stage, pedaling on devices that resembled bikes.

The two seats, fastened with a set of pedals were more complicated than a store-bought bicycle. The contraptions were the source of power for the concert, serving as a generator for the amplifiers. The method reduced the amount of electricity used from the grid, saving the University both energy and money.

The event featured three bands, Doug Ratner & the Watchmen, Arrows Over Athens and Nihility. Through the rapid pedaling of volunteers, music filled the room, drawing in crowds from outside the Student Union.

Peddlers switched between songs, and at the end of the night, two participants were rewarded a gift certificate to Bueno Y Sano and Pasta E Basta for their assistance.

David Marcus, drummer from Arrows Over Athens, felt the performances were a great way to attract people and attention to an educational event. Along with Eco-Reps and attendees of the concert, Marcus said encouraging sustainable habits is important for the campus community.

“The world is using up resources fast,” he said. “We need to try and slow down that process until alternatives are brought to use.”

Tables lined the corners of the lounge, where various facts about conserving energy, especially in residence halls were displayed. During the concert, Eco-Reps focused on educating attendees about the importance of reducing their utility usage.

“The globe is changing whether we like it or not,” said freshman Eco-Rep Liz Foster. “The more energy we can save, the longer we have to prevent our planet from the horrible changes that are coming.”

During the night, Eco-Reps also made efforts to educate their peers about water conservation. According to facts the group displayed, 2.5 gallons of water are used for each minute spent in the residence hall showers,. In order to effectively illustrate this concept, the group announced that an imaginary shower head was turned on at the beginning of the concert.

Every time 10 gallons were used, a paper cut-out, representative of that amount, was added to a poster situated by the bands. By the end of the night a total of 300 gallons would have been used in a two hour span.

Audrey Sundin, a junior who attended the event believed it to be an interesting and effective concept to draw attention to sustainability.
“A lot of students who come to college haven’t lived on their own and it’s important to learn eco-friendly practices,” she said.

As the night continued, members of the community filtered into the lounge. A dedicated crowd remained throughout the evening, content on listening to the array of music provided and refreshments served.

Eco-Rep Program Manager Julie Kadlik, a sophomore, viewed the night as a success.

“A lot of people were here to support sustainability on campus, which is important because the goal of the Eco-Rep Program is to have students actively involved in sustainable practices,” she said.

Jessica Sacco can be reached at [email protected]