ASG, Northwestern partnering with city on off-campus lights


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

A person skateboards by a streetlight on Foster Street on Tuesday night. Lighting and safety is a consistent concern for students who live off campus, said Anthony Kirchmeier, director of off-campus life.

Jeanne Kuang, Campus Editor

Associated Student Government and Northwestern administrators are working with Evanston officials to improve lighting near campus.

In the light and safety walk this month with Evanston aldermen, city staff members, University Police, NU administrators, students and residents, ASG looked for spots off campus that needed more sufficient lighting. Kevin Harris, ASG vice president for community relations, said they are compiling specific, problematic locations identified during the walk.

Those spots include areas that are poorly lit at night, streetlights that need replacements and sidewalks that have been obscured by trees. The light and safety walk is held one to two times a year by ASG.

The walk occurred west of campus and extended to Ridge Avenue, between Emerson Street and Noyes Street, said Anthony Kirchmeier, NU director of off-campus life.

“We identified the west side of Sheridan Road as an area that’s very dark,” Harris, a Weinberg junior, said.

He said he hopes to come up with a solution on that street despite a delay in discussing general Sheridan Road improvements with the city.

“A simple way, I guess you could say, to address lighting concerns is to do it through porch lighting,” Harris said.

Harris said because the buildings on the west side of Sheridan belong to the University, improving porch lighting there is feasible even if the city cannot find funding to install more streetlights. Members of the NU community will also work with the city to encourage Evanston residents to increase their porch lighting.

ASG has also been working with the University on a potential “mobile blue light” app for students to use while walking off campus. A committee is reviewing possible vendors for the app to determine whether or not NU should adopt the technology.

Harris said the app, which he called “essentially a blue light at your fingertips,” would have simple functions like an emergency button but could also include “other features that are maybe less daunting than just calling 911.”

“(We) want to make sure it is going to be a good fit that would complement a lot of the other safety measures out there, like SafeRide,” he said.

Lighting and safety are brought up consistently in the University’s surveys of off-campus students every two years, Kirchmeier said. Another survey is planned for the upcoming spring.

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