Campus Lighting Tours Help Safety
With the growing student population comes the heightened concern for student safety at the UA.
To ensure that campus has the safest conditions for students, the Residents’ Interhall Congress, UAPD and Reggie Houser, assistant director of housing, collaborated on a plan to check light fixtures and sidewalk and brush maintenance on campus.
Campus lighting tours happen two or three times each year, Houser said, but the groups are mostly faculty and staff, usually all male and take hours because of the size of the campus. There is also a maintenance worker who drives around campus monthly to survey the lighting.
These efforts seemed ineffective, “it is hard to judge lighting in the eyes of a student,” Houser said.
Tyler Priest, vice president of RIC, and Houser revised the lighting tour to make it a student project.
Houser separated the campus into 13 zones and made volunteering as a student more appealing. “We came up with some incentives like hot chocolate, t-shirts,” said Cameron Mussar, president of the RIC.
Participating in the tours will also serve as a resume builder, Houser said, because it “shows your involvement in the safety of the community.”
The tour groups will be comprised of students, who will survey the lighting and safety precautions on campus in the fall, and again in the spring to compare results, Mussar said.
“The plan is to recruit students to fill out a report on the areas they walk through anyway,” Houser said, “so it would only take 15 minutes, but we would receive true student input.”
The test tour on Oct. 26 will focus on the north side of campus around Reid and Maple Hill residence halls to see how smoothly the new plan works. “Students will be asked to fill out a report on concerning areas,” Houser said, and the faculty and staff involved in the project will submit the work orders.
There may be a second lighting tour in the fall, Priest said, and one again in the spring.
The focus of the tours is on overall safety. Students, faculty and staff will report broken lights, cracks in the sidewalks, and branches in walk ways, Priest said, and there is an option for additional lighting if requested.
The repairs and additional lighting will be covered by the general maintenance fees and residence hall fees, Houser said.
The results of the lighting tours are not only to fix problems but also to strengthen the campus community by encouraging students to model a neighborhood watch program where the residents take initiative and report broken fixtures and safety hazards, Houser said.