The Mysterious Case of the Thunderbird Campus Lights at Night

By Nash Wills, Staff Writer

Franz G. Talley Building at 1am
Franz G. Talley Building at 1am

Have you ever taken the time to walk around campus late at night? I do it sometimes when I’m on the phone—I like to pace while on the phone—or when I’m busy and have to stay up late working on a project in the Das Tor office. Campus is surprisingly different at night compared to during the day. I bet that’s because we’re usually busy on campus during the day, never having the time to fully absorb our Glendaleian oasis. Whatever the case, if you’ve ever taken a late-night stroll around campus, then you know what I’m talking about. At night you’ve probably noticed how clear the Arizona sky is, and that some flowers bloom more between the hours of midnight and 5 am. You may have noticed that the on-campus population actually increases relative to the daytime due to a rare feline phenomenon. You’ve probably also noticed that, oddly, there are more lights turned on at night than during the day. Yes, oh loyal readers, that is the subject matter of my article this week: the peculiar nature of nighttime electricity usage here at 1 Global Place.

To begin our discussion, I’m just going to rattle off a few questions that I find myself ruminating over from time to time: Why are the 4 big screens that form 1 giant screen in Yount constantly turned on, 24 hours a day, even at night when the doors are locked? And for that matter, has anyone ever actually watched those TVs before? They must be for the cats. Another question: Why are the lights in the Franz G. Talley Building—a mysterious edifice whose purpose is unknown and which I have only heard of through tales passed down from generations of old—turned on at night? Could it too be for the cats?

Voris Building. 1:12am
Voris Building. 1:12am

I want you to use your imagination for a second. It is 1 AM on a Wednesday. You are working on Professor Moffett’s financial analysis project with Jake and I, and we decide that it’s time for a break. We agree that a walk around the campus would be nice so we start our journey off from the Das Tor office. First stop: the Barton Kyle Yount Building. We’ve been missing out on our fair share of international business news lately, so a wave of relief rushes over us when we come across the televisions still playing. We take note of the currency rate changes in Argentina and move on to the Franz G. Talley building where, wouldn’t you know it, the lights are all on. You find yourself feeling surprised at this point. You wonder aloud, “Why are the lights on in a building that hasn’t been used in over a year?” But wait, the journey has only just begun.

JT Tai. 1:15am
JT Tai. 1:15am

Next stop, the William and Mavis Voris Building—if you’re a reader and aren’t sure which building I am referring to, it’s the other unused one across from the Lecture Halls. And guess what? Like the Franz G. Talley Building, the William and Mavis Voris building comes alive at night too. We stay for a little while and marvel at the mystery and then we move on, first behind the Xerox Center, and then to the backside of the Snell building to the set of classrooms that face the empty desert field. Reflective of the journey so far, this scene too perplexes you. Why would two of the classrooms have their doors wide open and another have its doors locked with all of the lights turned on inside? Maybe there are classes that take place at 1 in the morning that were never offered to us. Maybe it’s for the cats.

Yount TVs: 1am
Yount TVs: 1am

Continuing our journey, we pass by the Snell study rooms (where 3 of the doors are open) and then finish the tour by taking note of another television turned on inside a Snell office room. Nothing playing on the television, no one inside, just a blank screen turned on inside of a locked room. I hope that you’ve enjoyed your journey through campus at night, and that some day we will get an answer to the inexplicable mystery that is nighttime electricity usage at 1 Global Place.

 

Nash Wills

Nash Wills

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