Correction( Jan. 14 12:39 a.m.): Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misstated the amount PlayMakers Repertory Company received for replacement lights. They were awarded $67,500. The story has been changed to reflect the correciton.
The story also incorrectly stated that it is the first project the Renewable Energy Special Projects committee has funded since it expanded to include smaller projects. It is the second project. The story has been changed to reflect the correction. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
The new lights coming to PlayMakers Repertory Company next month will illuminate both the actors on the stage and the growing use of student fees to fund sustainable projects on campus.
The Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee, a subset of the executive branch of student government, appropriated $67,500 to replace more than 250 lights in the theater with newer, more energy-efficient models.
“This money is not only allowing us to replace our equipment, but they’re going to help us do a better job,” said Cecilia Durbin, master electrician for PlayMakers. “It’s really important that we’re using equipment that students will use in the real world.”
By updating the lights, Durbin said she estimates the University will save almost $5,000 a year and more than 74,000 kilo-watts in energy.
“We’re trying to be conscientious about our community and use resources responsibly,” she added.
RESPC, composed of 15 students, began receiving student fees in 2004. It has used its annual budget of more than $200,000 to fund sustainable projects such as upgrading the lights in PlayMakers.
The group’s significant budget reflects a national trend toward sustainable initiatives. The projects they fund decrease the University’s energy costs.
Since 2003, an $8 annual student fee has allowed the committee to fund projects such as the solar hot water system at Morrison Residence Hall and the conversion of the P2P bus service to biodiesel fuel.
Sophomore Erin Hiatt, co-chairwoman of the group, said it decided to fund the PlayMakers project because the proposal was the most detailed it received.
The project is the second the committee has funded since expanding its purview to include smaller projects. Previous projects have had a larger price tag, such as $185,000 for the Morrison renovation.
Hannah Grannemann, managing director of PlayMakers, said she felt the old equipment, which was more than 30 years old, was doing a disservice to students who worked at the theater.
“Thanks to the committee, we’re better fulfilling our education mission and perpetuating a message of sustainability,” she said.
PlayMakers hires professional light designers to create the lighting for its productions. Durbin, with the help of her team of graduate and undergraduate electricians, hangs and focuses the lights to make the designer’s vision come alive.
“The designers understood that with the old lighting, they have to settle for the best they can get,” said Patrick Daly, a sophomore who works with Durbin as an electrician.
“The new lights have better quality and they are safer for the technicians. It’s going to make our job easier and produce better quality shows.”
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