By Emily Thibodeau Contributing Writer
The Student Senate has plans to “brighten” campus up as they have been working to improve lighting on campus. Stephen Riitano, the Vice-President of the Student Senate, recently met with Jeff McKay, head of Facilities, to talk about lighting improvements.
Riitano and McKay discussed lighting options and later put out a survey for students. The survey asked students’ opinions on the lighting and where more lighting is needed. Out of the 30 responses reported, a majority suggested improvement at the walkway to the Emery Community Arts Center, the Admission Courtyard and a light shining down on the Mantor Green.
“Facilities has planned to update the spaces listed above and many others,” Riitano said. “Facilities work out of a ‘Green Fund’ that was established to update the campus and make it more efficient. Student Senate’s Student’s Rights and Affairs Committee (SRAC) is tackling the issue.”
SRAC members include Chair Stephen Riitano, Senator Sudeep Stable, Senator Nathan McIvor and Senator Samuel O’Neal. SRAC is currently proposing a plan to the Student Senate General Assembly and waiting for approval.
When asked about the timeline of this project, Riitano said, “The hope is that when the money is transferred to Facilities, they will start making the upgrades and improvements when the ground thaws. Some exterior and interior lights that are affixed to buildings may be done sooner. However, Facilities has a long to-do list, and I am unable to pinpoint an exact timeframe for when this would be done. My hope is that some improvements and upgrades are made this spring or summer.”
When interviewing UMF students, a main concern was if the new lighting would be energy efficient. Riitano said, “the lights will be much more energy efficient and save the campus in lighting costs.”
In regards to the budget, Riitano commented that it costs anywhere from $200-$600 to replace and/or update the current fixtures. “The idea is to make the campus safer, listen and act according to student requests, and to leave a lasting legacy for the campus and Student Senate for the 2017-2018 school year,” he said.
Public Safety student worker Talon Hutchinson, a Sophomore Anthropology major at UMF, was interviewed about the lighting on campus. Public Safety is often walking around at night to motioner the campus, check that doors are locked and offer their escort service. The escort service is to “help people feel safe while being walked safely somewhere,” Hutchinson, who worked this service last year, said it was used almost every night.
In Hutchinson’s opinion, “Lots 21 and 22 [freshman parking on Prescot Street] don’t have enough lighting.” Hutchinson also said that the crosswalks in front of Mallet and the Student Olsen center need to be better lit at night.
First-year student Ella Russell commented that “Walking back alone from the FRC parking lot at night is scary.” Russell suggests more outdoor lighting should be installed near the parking lots of campus.