One night in November, UT aerospace engineering sophomore Jeremy Priest noticed the Tower was basked in burnt-orange light. Curious as to why, Priest scoured the web for an answer—but had little luck.
Finally, a link popped up on Google to the Texas Volleyball site, where he found the reason: UT volleyball player Haley Eckerman had been named the 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year.
“Why is the Tower orange?” is a common question among Austinites and UT students after dark. With multiple lighting configurations that signify everything from academic achievements and athletic victories to department anniversaries, it’s hard to tell which UT win has warranted the honor.
Tired of the uncertainty—and annoyed by his lengthy Google search— Priest decided to take matters into his own hands by creating a website to keep ‘Horns in the know about Tower lightings.
UT’s University Operations includes a Flag and Tower Status section on its website, but Priest says he had no idea where to find it. So he decided to spend a grand total of $11 to buy and host the “Why is the Tower Orange?” domain. His sources include the University’s website for commencement and Big12Sports.com for anything else.
The website includes daily pictures of the Tower, along with a calendar archive. When it’s not glowing, the homepage simply reads “sad day.”
Priest says he still needs to fix a few bugs, but that he hopes to perfect the look of the site soon.
“I wasn’t expecting it to get this big,” Priest says of the site, which already has more than 1,000 Facebook likes. “I’m no web designer, but I just thought it was something nifty. It’s just for fun.”
Photo by Marsha Miller. Courtesy The University of Texas at Austin.