Penn State To Lead Four Universities in “Campus Lights Out”

Students and volunteers at Penn State will team up with four other universities across the country tonight for the first-ever joint “Campus Lights Out” event in an effort to conserve energy and cut electricity costs.

The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Kansas, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Toledo, inspired by the success of the university’s “Friday Night Lights Out” campaign, will participate alongside Penn State in the event.

Every Friday night since 2006, approximately 30 Penn State students have departed from the HUB-Robeson Center on a mission to turn off classroom lights across the University Park campus, fueled by pizza and soft drinks donated by Penn State’s Housing and Food Services. During the semester, student volunteers from many of Penn State’s service clubs and organizations take turns at participating in this project.

The event was put into place by student leaders from the Council of LionHearts with the help of Paul Ruskin, former director of the Office of the Physical Plant. When Ruskin was a student at Penn State back in 1965, he began turning off unused classroom lighting after hours to save energy, and continued to flip switches during his lunch hour as a university employee. Over the years, he estimated that he has turned off several million lights, helping to cut the university’s electric bill and reduce carbon emissions.

In the past two years, 907 students have participated in turning off 152,807 light bulbs, which has saved the university 249,994 kilowatt hours of electricity. Since 2006, more than 400,000 light bulbs have been turned off, saving Penn State more than 700,000 kilowatt hours.

Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to participate in future “FNLO” events and can sign up at

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About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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