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First joint Campus Lights Out event proves successful

Friday night lights out text on black screen
November 12, 2014

On Friday, Oct. 24, students and volunteers at five universities across the country, including Penn State, joined forces for the first-ever joint Campus Lights Out event. Participating schools included the University of Texas at Austin, who coordinated the event, as well as the University of Toledo, the University of Kansas and Bowling Green University.

More than 254 volunteers from the five universities participated in the event. Together they combined to turn off 14,628 lights and 737 projectors, computer monitors, computers and other various electronics in 112 total buildings. The total energy savings was 18,869 kWh. Looking specifically at Penn State, students combined their efforts to turn off 2,281 lights that night.

Future joint Campus Lights Out events are in the planning stages for the spring semester and next fall. The hope is to increase the number of universities involved.

The event was inspired by the success of previous lights-out events, such as Penn State's weekly “Friday Night Lights Out” (FNLO), where, since 2006, participating students have joined together each week to turn out classroom lights across the University Park campus. The FNLO event was originally conceived by Paul Ruskin, a now-retired employee of Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant, and put into place by student leaders from the Council of LionHearts. Since 2010, more than 1,700 students have volunteered for FNLO, with an estimated 2,500 having participated since the program’s inception.

Each week the students turn off approximately 1,500-2,500 light bulbs. More than 400,000 light bulbs have been turned off since 2006, saving Penn State more than 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. To take a look at the comprehensive data from Penn State’s FNLO,

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to participate in future FNLO events and can sign up at For more information about FNLO and sustainability at Penn State,

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