AUSTIN, Texas—Just as the sun sets on Monday (Feb. 19), the lights illuminating the Tower at The University of Texas at Austin will be turned on for 10 to 15 minutes while a television production crew in a helicopter circling overhead captures the Tower image on video. Then the lights will be turned off until Tuesday evening.
The brief period of lighting will help make possible the inclusion of the Tower as one of Austin’s prominent landmarks in a promotional production by a local television station. A representative for the TV station said contracts with a helicopter company and filming personnel were signed long before a recent announcement by UT Austin that Tower lights will be left off every Monday from Feb. 12 through May 7. The Monday darkenings are a symbolic measure reminding the University community of the need to participate in energy-saving efforts.
The representative said its contracts kept the station from changing the videotaping to another date when the Tower would ordinarily be illuminated. Without the lights being on for the videotaping, he said, their options would have been to either photograph a dark Tower or exclude the Tower from the production. He said the landmark scenes of Austin, which also will include the state capital, will be used to introduce their nightly news programs and will be made available to affiliate CBS stations.
Except for the 10-15 minutes at dusk, the Tower lights will remain off on Monday night (Feb. 19). Lighting the Tower costs less than $5 per hour, so there are no great cost savings in darkening the Tower. The Monday darkenings, therefore, serve more as a symbolic reminder of the need to conserve energy at a time of soaring energy costs.