Longhorn Lights Out sends students to save energy in buildings across campus

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Photo Credit: Mel Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

UT students might be conscious of their own energy consumption, but one group aims to give students a first-person perspective on how much energy UT buildings use.

On Friday, Longhorn Lights Out hosted their monthly “Join the Dark Side” event in which groups of students turn off lights and other unnecessary electronics in buildings across campus.

“We have maps for every building that we hand out once the groups get together,” said Michael Garcia, radio-television-film junior and LLO’s historian. “Everyone grabs a map and it could be any building on campus, especially the buildings that don’t have automatic lighting.”

Buildings students visited included the McCombs building, the Art Building and Robert Lee Moore Hall.

“(The event) is all about energy efficiency,” Garcia said. “It saves the University a whole lot of power. We count every bulb that gets turned off and then we can calculate how much energy the University is saving.”

A goal of the monthly “Join the Dark Side” events is to show how small steps can lead to big change, according to their website.

“This was my first time attending a LLO event, and I would definitely come to another one,” nutrition junior Courtney Bates said. “My favorite part of the event was being able to not only think about but also actually visualize how we were saving the environment.”

Student groups attending the event went to their designated buildings and logged each light bulb they turned off and every extraneous device they unplugged. The groups then returned back to the Liberal Arts Building to enjoy free pizza and t-shirts and answer trivia questions about sustainable energy in the world.

“I had a lot of fun, and I really liked walking around and searching around campus,” said chemistry freshman Juliet DeNapoli, whose group went to the Art Building to turn off lights. “I didn’t like that it was pretty short, though. I wish it had been a bit longer.”

In addition to their monthly event, LLO said it hopes to raise awareness for campus energy usage through dimming the UT Tower lights on April 18.

“The LLO submitted a proposal to the president’s office and that was to get the Tower to dim for Earth Month,” Garcia said. “It would be significant not only for the group but also for raising awareness for Earth Month and how we take electricity for granted.”