Darkness consumes campus: Main Quad lighting issues concern students

October 31st, 2013

With clocks moving an hour forward next Sunday and winter’s bestial weather ready to strike John Carroll University, students are growing concerned about the lack of proper outdoor lighting on campus. According to multiple students, the area around the Main Quad has few functioning lights. When asked about their opinions on the outdoor lighting on campus, several students found the lighting to be almost nonexistent.

“It gets really hard to see, not just because there’s not enough lighting, but also because the light is orange,” said sophomore Elizabeth Egan. “It’s not bright, and I don’t feel as safe I would hope to on campus.”

“There have been multiple times when I’ve been walking back from Dolan or the library and it’s been dark out and I couldn’t see where I was going,” said freshman Dan May. “I’m tired of relying on the light of the dorms to guide my way.”

Brian Hurd, assistant director of Campus Safety Services, agreed that the campus needs to have efficient lighting.

“Certainly, if people feel like it’s dimly lit, that will create a feeling that it’s not safe, whether or not it is,” Hurd said. “Darkness and certain dark areas have that effect on people. It certainly helps to have well-lit areas; it has been proven to [prevent] crime.”

Senior Deirdre Byrne was previously the chair of the facilities and security committee on Student Union. During her time in that position, she would go on lighting walks to examine the quality of the school’s outdoor lighting.

“In 2011, we found over 15 lights that were out,” said Byrne. “We filed work orders. They also [began] using more energy-efficient lighting. After talking to [Manager of Facilities Services] Mike Roeder, the lighting really improved for the year.”

Byrne’s views of the outdoor lighting dimmed this year.

“I am disappointed to see that the campus is incredibly dark again,” she said. “I’ll return at midnight [from the library] and it is pitch black. I have not talked with anyone in facilities about the issue now, but I remember them being so excited about the new energy- efficient lighting. I hope it’s something that’s still [being] used.”

Hurd explained that CSS follows a process with officers at nighttime.

“If they see lights out, they’ll [tell] maintenance,” said Hurd.

Hurd also encouraged students to voice their opinions about lighting on campus and share their experiences with CSS.

“We would certainly be interested to hear from students if they feel like it’s too dark in certain areas,” Hurd said. “It’s helpful to get a different perspective.”

Carol Dietz, associate vice president of facilities, directed The Carroll News to Bernard Beyer, director of physical plant, about the lighting. Beyer could not be reached for comment regarding the lighting issue.

Byrne said that for the sake of safety, the lighting system on campus is in need of an overhaul.

“I understand it is difficult to keep track of what lights are working on campus and what lights are not, but I think there needs to be a better system to keep track,” said Byrne. “Earlier in the year, we were notified about scary incidents off campus, so I really hope that the lighting gets better.”

In the meantime, Byrne suggested that students be aware of their surroundings when walking around at night. She echoed Hurd’s advice to report any observations of insufficient lighting.

“If you notice a light that is not working, file a work order,” said Byrne. “It’s easy to assume that facilities is not being diligent, but sometimes they are [unaware of what is] happening.”