Behind the Scenes: Lighting Up Lubbock with Annual Texas Tech Tradition
With a flip of the switch, over 20,000 Texas Tech students and local residents will kick off the holiday season at the 60th Annual Carol of Lights on Friday, Nov. 30. It’s a fun holiday tradition that recently became more energy efficient. To give customers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to pull it off each year, LP&L spoke to Dr. D’aun Green, senior associate managing director for housing at Texas Tech University, who is one of the many people responsible for putting it all together.
The Carol of Lights, sponsored by the Texas Tech Residence Halls Association, dates back to 1957 when it was originally concepted. However, the ceremony didn’t officially kick off until 1959 with just 5,000 lights. The event continued every year except in 1972, when Texas Tech canceled the event due to the university’s energy conservation policy. In 2009, work began to transition 25,000 bulbs from a glass incandescent bulb to a plastic LED bulb, which is more durable in the strong West Texas wind. 2014 was the first year that 100 percent of the bulbs were LED.
“The five-year transition to LED lights was a significant step to be more sustainable, which is a priority for University Student Housing and Texas Tech University,” said Dr. Green. “The LED bulbs are 87 percent more efficient, are more durable and are estimated to reduce yearly utility costs by $800.”
According to the United States Department of Energy, not only do LED holiday lights consume less electricity, they’re also safer, sturdier, last longer and are easier to install.
In addition to the move to energy efficient solutions, the Carol of the Lights team is always expanding and redesigning to create excitement for the community. New this year is a lighted metal arch resembling a snow globe.
The 25,000-LED light installation and planning process takes place two months before the event. Hundreds of students, staff and community members invest thousands of hours to make the Carol of Lights a continued success, including:
• Texas Tech Residence Halls Association
• Texas Tech Office of Communication and Marketing
• Clyde Shannon – Shannon Sound and Lighting
• Stephen Howard and Don Roulain – Operations
• Carol of Lights student committee
• Various other student organizations and TTU departments
There are many reasons why the Carol of Lights is one of Texas Tech’s largest and oldest traditions, ranging from its vast community support to its shift to more energy efficient options. As the Carol of Lights team continues to explore ways to make the event bigger and better each year, it’ll ensure their lights last for a lifetime.
“If no one came to the event, there would be no need for it,” said Dr. Green. “However, we’ve seen how much the community has embraced this event as one of their own family traditions. We are blessed to have the support from the West Texas, Lubbock and Texas Tech areas.”