Penn State to douse lights for 'Earth Hour' on March 31

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, the exterior lights at Penn State's Old Main and other campus landmarks will be turned off for Earth Hour 2012, a global event focused on environmental conservation.

"We feel it is symbolically important to join in this worldwide effort to show the effect that many people, working together, can have on climate change," said Steve Maruszewski, assistant vice president of Penn State's Office of Physical Plant. In addition to the lights at Old Main, decorative floodlights at the Lion Shrine, the Nittany Lion Inn and the Information Sciences and Technology building will be turned off.

Penn State will be joining more than 5,200 cities in 135 countries in celebration of Earth Hour, an annual event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund that encourages the dimming of decorative lighting on landmark buildings for the period of an hour. Other icons that will go dark include Chicago’s Sears Tower, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, New York’s United Nations and Empire State Building, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. What began as an effort in Sidney, Australia five years ago has grown into a worldwide celebration of conservation.

Penn State's student environmental organization, Eco-Action, has joined in the international movement. Headed by Earth Hour coordinator Sarina Katz, Eco-Action has made strides in promoting the celebration as a community-wide event; this year, Earth Hour was officially recognized in State College, Pa., by the mayor and the borough council, and Eco-Action has been encouraging businesses and students to engage in this global event.

As part of the event, members of the community can join members of Eco-Action at 8:30 p.m. March 31 on the patio at Old Main for an hour of entertainment. There will be performances by the Penn State International Dance Ensemble, musical group No String's Attached, the Penn State Songwriter's Club, performing magicians, and the Penn State Juggling Club. As the lights of Old Main are turned off, candles, lanterns and fire jugglers will light up the night in honor of Earth Hour.

For more information, contact Paul Ruskin at 814-863-9620 or

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Last Updated March 29, 2012