SGA seeks student input to repair broken lights across UNA campus

by Staff Writer John Ed Dearman

As the days get shorter, the need for good lighting on campus becomes apparent. SGA plans to repair many broken lights on campus following an SGA-led student survey.

Dayton Tenney, chairman of the rules and regulations committee, said his members surveyed 436 students and asked them which of the three areas on campus needed lighting the most: the library and amphitheater, Appleby East and West, and Rice and Rivers halls.

“We were trying to discuss issues that are still coming up around campus,” Tenney said. “One of the things that was brought up was concerns about the poor lighting.”

The results of the survey showed students think the library-amphitheater area needs better lighting with 246 respondents choosing that location.

The Appleby parking lot and one-way street behind it came in second place with 123 votes. Rice and Rivers halls came in last with 67 students selecting that area.

He said they conducted research on the lights and found approximately 32 broken lights around campus.

Senator and member of the rules and regulations committee Matt McGinnis said he and the committee wanted to do more than just fix broken lights.

“When we were discussing surveying the lights across campus, we really wanted to not just gather a list of lights that needed to be changed, but instead be proactive and see where lights are needed on campus,” McGinnis said.

He said they wanted to focus on high-traffic areas on campus.

Freshman Maggie Hiser said she has a problem with the lights around the amphitheater.

“It’s like a whole section of it that is completely dark, and it gets really creepy,” she said. “It’s actually faster for me to walk through the amphitheater to get to where I’m going than it is to walk down through the sidewalk where there is much better lighting.”

SGA discussed the lighting problem at the retreat in August, he said.

Better lighting would be beneficial to everyone, he said. For example, if students drop something like their Mane Card, they will not be able to find it in the dark.

“Better lighting will also help out the SNAP program, making sure they don’t run over anything when they drive,” he said.

Tenney said the lighting is more of a small concern than a legitimate safety issue.

“I really think that UNA is one of the safest campuses I’ve ever been to, so we’re really not too concerned in that aspect,” he said.

Tenney said he will meet with Police Chief Kevin Gillilan to discuss lighting problems and figure out what his intentions are going forward.

“We’re already having discussions with administration about getting more lights in these areas,” McGinnis said. “We’ve been on top of it and we’re getting a lot done. We’re really excited about it. Hopefully, we can get something done (about the lighting) really quickly.”

Tenney, his committee and SGA President Nick Lang are in the process of setting up meetings with university officials to get prices and other information about replacing the broken lights.

Senior Mack Prestera said he thinks the lights are out-of-date.

“(I think the university should) update the lighting and make it a lot brighter,” Prestera said.

He said the lights around the Science and Technology Building are great, and those are the kind of lights that need to be all around campus.

Sophomore Rosie McClendon said she thinks the lights are too dim.

“There are lots of lights on campus, which is really good, but none of them seem to be very bright, so it kind of makes them useless,” she said, “What we need to have is football stadium lights.”