Lights, Campus, Action!


Photograph courtesy of Giang Nguyen

Walking back from work long after the sun sets is, perhaps, the most stressful thing about my work. Although I live on campus and it is only a five-minute walk from the VPA to my apartment, I have to cross the parking lot and walk through a pretty horribly-lit apartment complex. The biggest questions in my mind that I often face are: Will a car passing by see me tonight? Do I feel safe? What if someone wants to hurt me and no one will see?

The lack of campus lighting in UIS is horrible, from the dim lighting in the apartments, townhouses and old campus complex to the very dim lighting that is provided for the parking lots. I have found that moonlight is better than the lights provided. The lights are too dim and the motion activation is highly unreliable, sometimes even shutting off when it activates. Some areas of campus are completely dark. Put simply: I do not feel safe walking home alone at night because of the lack of lighting.

There is a constant feeling of fear whenever I walk alone at night. I do not feel as if every student on campus is out to get me, but I feel fear because I do not know who or what is approaching me. I often find myself clutching my keys or scrambling to get inside my apartment because of the darkness. I can barely see anyone’s face in the dim lighting, and if something were to happen to me, I would not be able to identify them. When crossing campus parking lots or streets I often fear when I cross the parking lot that someone will potentially hit me because they cannot see me. Other potential issues include not seeing ice, not realizing there is a deep puddle or simply tripping over a branch. It is unsafe for everyone.

Although there are simple suggestions to combat the bad lighting, such as wearing a reflective vest, bringing a flashlight or walking with a partner, it only puts a band-aid on the actual issue. Lack of visibility should not be my problem, and I should not feel scared to walk home from work. I should feel safe to walk alone on campus in general. If a campus is not meeting the expectations of the students after numerous complaints then there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. The best that we students can do is email UIS or talk to our student representatives so that we can get more, or better, lights around the school.


Please note that all opinion columns in The Journal reflect the individual author’s own perspectives on a topic, and the views and opinions expressed in these columns do not necessarily represent those of The Journal.