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ELIOT CIRCULAR
reed magazine logoJune 2010

Eliot Circular Continued

Garden House Wins Power Struggle

Galen Pyle

Reedies struck a blow against global warming—and demonstrated creative frugality—in the third annual campus-wide “Power Struggle,” in which dorms vie against one another to see who can cut their electricity consumption most dramatically during the month of February.

The Garden House (a former residence located on SE 28th Avenue that the college converted into a dorm in 1994) clinched the competition, cutting energy consumption by 20 percent. Dormmates achieved this feat by unplugging appliances, dousing lights, and holding house dinners that were illuminated by candles and flashlights.

Power Struggle is sponsored by the student environmental group Greenboard, which checks the electricity meters in each dorm each week during the contest, while the dorms try to reduce their power usage by the greatest proportion. In the first year of the competition, its founder, Devin Judge-Lord ’09, spent several hours hunting for a meter in a cross-canyon dorm before discovering it hidden in a maintenance closet. That year, Bragdon Hall won the contest by spending the entire month living in the dark. “I remember taking tours through there and having to explain why the lights were off,” Devin recalls.

Power Struggle represents just one of the ways students are working to cut the college’s carbon footprint. The Student Senate and President Colin Diver this year committed approximately $12,000 for campus sustainability projects, such as a covered bike shelter. In addition, the Reed Sustainable Food Project, a student-run garden on the west side of campus, is raising fruit and vegetables to provide commons with delicious, healthy, and local greens. For more on the college’s sustainability efforts, see web.reed.edu/sustainability/.

—Ethan Knudson ’11

Miracles and Mountebanks

Lauren Banister

PHOTO BY MATT D’ANNUNZIO

Bearded ladies, miracle workers, contortionists, belly dancers—all these and many other performers crammed into the student union in March for the Great Hereafter Medicine Show. The show, which played during Reed Arts Week, held the audience spellbound with vaudeville acts and carnival oddities. Staying true to this year’s theme of “alchemy,” students transformed the S.U. into a revival tent extraordinaire with patchwork tapestries, bizarre wooden structures, and colorful lights. Linguistics major Lauren Banister ’10, who mesmerized the crowd with her isolated hula hoop stylings, recalls being arrested by unexpected wafts of burning sage and bittersweet morsels of candied orange peel during the course of the evening. “It was stunning,” she exclaims. “A unique, yet thoroughly Reed experience: disorienting in the best way.” Considering that students have praised the show as “the best event after Renn Fayre,” we can only hope for a revival in 2011.

—Lucy Bellwood ’12

Psychology Professor Wins $1 Million Grant

Tim Hackenberg

Psychology professor Tim Hackenberg has received a five-year grant of more than $1 million from the National Institutes of Health for his project, “Behavioral Economics in a Laboratory-Based Token Economy.”

Behavioral economics is an approach to understanding how constraints such as restricted income, limited options, and incomplete and uncertain information about the world impact behavior. The aim of this project is to develop a laboratory-based system for examining behavior from an economic perspective. Building on an extensive body of animal research, the project uses pigeons as workers in a miniature and self-contained economy.

The centerpiece of the experiment is a token-economic system, in which tokens are earned, accumulated, and exchanged for other commodities. This research brings within reach a wide range of economic variables never before studied in the animal laboratory and, with it, exciting new possibilities for students to participate in the burgeoning field of experimental economics.

—David Frazee Johnson

reed magazine logoJune 2010