Today in NC State History: An off-again, on-again relationship

March 16, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconThe energy crisis in America during the 1970s had gotten so bad by April 1977 that President Carter felt it necessary to outline his revised energy policy in a speech to the country. In it, he outlined 10 principles, including environmental protection, economic growth and conservation, that he believed might steer the country away from behavior that had led to heavy dependence on gasoline, oil and natural gas.

At the time, NC State was trying to chip in on a local level, as well. According to the Technician, from February to March 1977, the university had cut off the fountain that was located in what was then known as University Plaza. “Back in February, the governor asked the University to take every cut possible to conserve energy during the shortage,” said George Worsley, the then vice chancellor for finance and business. “The cutting off of the fountain was one of the University’s measures to conserve energy.”

fountainBut it was on this day 38 years ago that the fountain was turned back on.

It seems the shut-off was more a symbolic act than anything else. The Technician reported that “only a small unit of energy was saved.”

Worsley also told the paper that in the future, the energy situation would dictate if the fountain would run or not. But he was hopeful that what he saw as a integral part of NC State’s aesthetic appeal would run vibrant.

“During the summer, that area of campus is beautiful,” he said, “and I hope it can be enjoyed by the students and faculty.”


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