I was sitting in the media seats courtside at the Purcell Pavilion, editing my photos from the Women’s Basketball game Thursday Feb. 27, when suddenly the lights went out. For all of maybe 3 seconds it was pitch black in the arena. Then emergency exit lighting came on. Luckily most people had already left by this point.
A few minutes after that, most of the rest of the normal arena lighting came back on. Nothing more than a momentary circuit breaker pop, I thought. But then the murmurings began filtering in and the Twitter-verse began a-buzzing: Power outage across campus.
Tim O’Connor, Fighting Irish Digital Media designer/Jedi Knight, known to many as “Oak,” was quick to throw down the gauntlet on Twitter:
So off I went to investigate.
First thing I noticed was that it didn’t seem like a power outage at all…most of the Joyce Center lights were on, the Stadium lights were on, Touchdown Jesus was lit…maybe it was a false alarm? But then a few other things caught my attention: 1. Police directing traffic 2. The sound of generators running, and 3. The odd lack of a familiar golden background object.
As I made my way to ND Avenue to investigate, I noticed more generators, and that about half the normal lighting I was used to was working–some street lights on, some off, some parking lot lights on, some off, some building windows lit, some not. Overall I was quite impressed at the quickness of the batteries, generators and other backup systems on campus in turning an unexpected event into mostly a non-event.
Sure enough, the Dome’s exterior lighting was out. In almost 25 years living on or near campus I’ve never seen that. A few minutes after I made the picture the lights came back on. In the image, however, some of the illumination from street lights is reflecting off the statue of Mary atop the Dome, to which Tim O’Connor (Oak) said, “Even with no lights she still shines.”
Nice one, Oak.