Campus lighting proposal unveiled

Becky Bowman

Administrators said Tuesday that they will complete a round of improvements to campus lighting by Fall Quarter, in response to concerns about campus safety spurred by the Oct. 8 assault of a Northwestern graduate student on the Lakefill.

The decision, announced to students in a meeting with William Banis, NU’s vice president for student affairs, comes after months of work by Women’s Coalition and the Student Services Committee of the Associated Student Government.

Women’s Co Director Laura Millendorf said 12 new fixtures will be added along the eastern side of Sheridan Road between Deering Meadow and The Arch, and eight light posts will be placed between The Arch and the Communications Residential College. Lighting also will be improved along the paths between Sheridan Road and buildings on South Campus, near the Technological Institute, and along University Place between the Human Resources building and Shepard Residential College, Millendorf said.

Courtney Brunsfeld, ASG’s student services vice president, said she was pleased to hear of the plan and that any improvements not made this year could be made in the future.

“I don’t think we could expect all the places where we wanted more lighting to get lighting this year,” said Brunsfeld, a Weinberg junior. “I’m sure that next year and in many years to come, we’ll be seeing the same effort for these groups working with the administration to improve campus lighting. I think this is a really big step.”

Materials for the new fixtures will be purchased this month, according to a report detailing the lighting strategy. Installation will begin after commencement in June and be finished by the end of August, said Millendorf, who lobbied for the lighting improvements.

Administrators were unavailable for comment about the cost of the project.

The recommendations to improve lighting were made after Facilities Management conducted a lighting survey of campus in October and November, and used the data along with suggestions from the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee.

Using standards developed by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, administrators found that most areas on campus meet the society’s minimum standards for lighting, according to the report.

The lighting improvements called for in the plan will bring deficient areas up to the society’s standards, the report said.

In addition to the new light fixtures, the strategy also calls for improvements to lighting maintenance, a continued effort to work with ASG to update the “Lights Out” Web site, and a greater focus on collecting and monitoring campus lighting data.

The report also lists alternative solutions to improving safety, such as increasing campus police patrols.

“It’s a huge statement on the part of the university,” Millendorf said. “To me this proves that activism works. There was no one on campus who was against this.”