by Joe Holden
editor in chief
The administration is concerned that there are not enough lights and emergency call boxes on campus. “In the past we just walked through without the help of the students. The key is to get students involved,” Stephen Lightcap said. Lightcap, vice president for finance and administration, toured the campus with other college officials this past Monday evening along with select students and student government representatives to assess areas that are poorly lit and in need of call boxes.
The light walk, as it is called by the SGA, was seen as an important means of conveying the concerns of students who frequently use the dimly lit paths and parking lots to the administration. There is little to no lighting along the span of road connecting the apartments with the rest of the central campus. The road is also the primary route to the major campus buildings and not a secondary one. “Walking from the mansion to the apartments is dangerous. If we get one light there, people will feel more safe,” Nick Luchko, president of SGA, said. Lightcap echoed Luchko’s opinion regarding the condition of lighting between the mansion and the apartments. “It’s disturbing to walk near the tennis courts at night,” Lightcap said. According to Luchko, the SGA has prioritized poorly lit areas that are in need of swift response from the administration for the installation of lighting.
The SGA proposes that call boxes be installed in front of the houses along Residential Blvd. where the row of parking spaces is. “We would like to see a call box for every two islands separating parked cars on Residential Blvd. because currently there are none,” Luchko said. “You have to walk all the way up to one of the houses to get to a call box.” Janice Funk, vice president of SGA, along with Jenna Mancini, academic board chair, pointed out to Charlie Schaffner, director of Public Safety, that no call box exists in the Widener Center parking lot or area near the lot. SGA would like to see a call box installed among the parking spaces for quick and easy access.
The issue of broken or improperly working call boxes was also raised. “Public Safety checks all lights, call boxes and fire extinguishers monthly,” Schaffner said. If you find that a particular box is broken or something else on campus is not functioning properly such as a light, Lightcap suggests that you inform your R.A. Lightcap explained that there is a chain of command and in order for things to get done efficiently, students need to address the correct authority. “The key thing Residence Life does is assess students’ needs.”
Questions were also brought up about the road that bends around Grace Hall. At the southwest corner of the building there is a blind curve. Since there is no sidewalk, pedestrians use the road and more often than not vehicles quickly wrap around the bend, which could possibly result in an accident. Lightcap commented that students have to be moved off of the road and onto a sidewalk. Plans are under consideration for a sidewalk to be constructed along the west side of Grace Hall.
Beth Genther and Leslie Glavin, first-year students from Grace Hall, and Kit Hillin, sophomore from Woodcrest, participated in the walk. Mike Caranfa, chief facilities officer, and James Fries, senior landscape architect, along with Lightcap and Schaffner listened and responded to concerns for nearly 50 minutes. SGA aimed to get a diverse group of students to participate in the light walk. Luchko thought that having a group of students from a variety of residences on campus would help the administration present to understand more clearly the student desire for a safer campus. “We pointed out areas around campus that the administration hasn’t seen before,” Luchko said.
“Lightcap will be receiving a call from me after the Thanksgiving break to arrange a follow-up meeting because it is a major concern,” Luchko said. “I understand that the lights are not just going to come out of nowhere just because we had a light walk. At least we got the ball rolling.” Lightcap explained that his course of action will be to involve the students in the different phases of making the campus safer. “We will make a list of proposals and take it to the SGA and then to the students to be sure that nothing was missed.” Lightcap added that some of the projects may be extensive. “We’ll have to price things and then go from there.” In any case, Lightcap stressed that the students will have a say and will be responsible to validate the projects for final consideration.
“SGA appreciates the administration’s time,” Luchko said. The light walk was a priority for SGA from its summer planning meetings. An original light walk was scheduled last year but was cancelled due to Hurricane Floyd, which ravaged the Delaware Valley in September of 1999. “If the SGA, along with the students, continues to work with the administration, this school will only get better,” Luchko said. “I think it was good that we worked together.”