The Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) Senate approved a $75,000 loan to the college last week for the school to buy energy-saving LED lights for Big Bridges Auditorium. Previously, the auditorium’s only option has been to rent theatrical lights for about $2,000 a year.
The largest venue for events on the 5Cs, seating 2,400 people, Bridges hosted some of the biggest names to visit campus last year, including LMFAO, John Legend, and Bill Gates. The popular a cappella festival “SCAMfest” is also held there annually.
Although the loan was set into motion by last year’s ASPC Senate, current President Nate Brown PO ’12 and Vice President of Finance Leslie Appleton PO ’12 inherited the task of setting the interest rate for the loan and finalizing the transaction.
“We have hundreds of thousands of dollars in reserves that up until recently have been just sitting in a bank,” Appleton said. “We decided that this would be a good way to do something around the school and improve sustainability.”
Pomona has five years to pay back the loan at a five percent rate of interest. According to Appleton, ASPC is hoping to contribute to the community and promote sustainability while turning a profit on its investment, and the loan will also help increase discourse between ASPC and the College.
“It’s a good way to build a relationship with the administration,” she said.
On a technical level, the new lights are a welcome change for the Big Bridges, according to the auditorium’s Production Manager, Kurt Beardsley. LED lights not only cut energy costs, but they also require much less maintenance than normal theatrical lights do, he said.
“The concert and theater industry by nature is very wasteful,” Beardsley wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “I am always looking for ways to lower our carbon footprint… these new LED lights are going a long way in helping with that.”
The energy savings for the auditorium will be significant as two types of lights will be replaced. “Par cans” each use 575 watts and eight amps of power. The LED pars will use 96 watts each and draw 0.08 amps. Additionally, only 36 LED lights will be needed to light the stage, compared to 50 of the older lights. The auditorium is also replacing its CYC lights, which draw 24,000 watts compared to the 700 watts drawn by LED lights.
For concertgoers, the new lights may also improve the visual aesthetics of shows. The new LED lights will allow lighting technicians to virtually mix any color they want, without using the short-lived “gels” typically used to color theatrical lights. The upgrades to the system will also make it possible to move lights for special effects.
Beardsley joked, “The lights will bring Bridges Auditorium into the twenty-first century technology-wise. We are mingling somewhere in the late ’70s to early ’80s right now.”_x000D_