About the Program Volunteers to walk around campus every Friday evening when classes are in session to turn off classroom lights. Without this effort, many classroom lights would be left on until Sunday evening when the custodial staff returns to work. Each week volunteer students from many of Penn State’s service clubs and organizations take turns participating in this project. Penn State's Housing and Food Services office donates pizza to the student volunteers each week.
FNLO has become a popular on-campus service project and has received national publicity through the Weather Channel and the Big Ten Network. The Council of Sustainable Leaders welcomes student organizations and other groups affiliated with the university to sign up and participate in the service project.
History In 2006, student leaders from the Council of LionHearts created a simple and highly effective volunteer program known as Friday Night Lights Out (FNLO). The idea of turning off classroom lights each week was discussed at a meeting of the Council of LionHearts, a group consisting of leaders of the major student service organizations on campus.
The idea to create the Friday Night Lights Out program at Penn State was conceived of and developed in December 2005 by Emily Hoberg, the service vice president of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. Emily’s idea was inspired by an employee in the Office of Physical Plant who mentioned that he liked to walk around campus during his lunch hour to turn off a few classroom lights. The project was first fully developed when the Council of LionHearts was co-advised by graduate assistant Lisa Niescierenko and Dr. Philip Burlingame, The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. Subsequent graduate assistants who co-advised the Council and oversaw the logisitics of Friday Night Lights Out included Dawn Snyder, Mariyah Salem, Rachel Russell, Kate Curley and Amy-Leah Joaquim — all were graduate students from Penn State’s master’s program in higher education (student affairs emphasis). The ultimate goal of the project is to educate students about the importance of energy conservation through the simple notion of turning off lights when they leave a room.
The concept of Friday Night Lights Out has spread beyond Penn State to other colleges and universities across the nation. On Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, 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. At Penn State, students combined their efforts to turn off 2,281 lights that night. On January 15th, 2016, Friday Night Lights Out celebrated its 10 year anniversary with current members of the founding organization, Alpha Phi Omega. In its ten years, Friday Night Lights Out has turned off an estimated 561,510 lights, and saved Penn State an estimated 19,652,850 watts, 943,446.8 kilowatt hours, and $75,778.25 This is enough electricity to power 91 average Pennsylvania homes for a full year.