Residence Hall Director Lindsey Swartout wants better lights on the University of South Dakota campus.
She wants to see the classic style of lights replaced with more modern and brighter LED lights.
“The lighting is typically, that it has that orange undertone, which really doesn’t light very well, but there’s new LED light that can be put in that is more expensive, but it lasts over a long term amount of time, that has that blue LED undertone,” Swartout said.
Swartout said the Residence Hall Association (RHA) is looking at improving campus lighting.
“Our long term campus initiative, what we’re trying to work on, is the lighting on campus,” she said.
The entrance to Beede and Mickelson Halls already has LED lights.
“Actually, they put those into the Beede/Mick entrance not too long ago, and they’re actually really bright and they really light up the sidewalk,” Swartout said.
One campus function that looks to improve campus safety, including lighting, is safety walks.
University Police Department Director Pete Jensen said safety walks let students evaluate and improve campus safety.
“Basically it’s just students walking around campus looking for ways to enhance safety on campus,” Jensen said.
Sami Zoss, the president of the Student Government Association, said senators participate in a safety walk periodically.
“This is done as needed and that need is interpreted on a year to year basis,” Zoss said. “SGA does it periodically just to touch on another part of campus.”
Jensen said recommendations are sent to him.
“They’ll call and we’ll set up a time when we’re gonna do the safety walk. Then we will — on whatever night it is — conduct the walk. They make whatever notations or recommendations that they feel are appropriate, and then they send them back to me,” Jensen said. “Trim this tree, remove this fence. That kind of stuff. Lighting is the big thing.”
Swartout also mentioned light as a big factor in the safety walks.
“We noticed there were some dark spots. How do we make it safer? Do we need to cut down some bushes?” Swartout said.
Jensen said that after he reviews them, the reports go to Facilities Management.
“Then they will take and look at it and evaluate each of the items and it will go into a process, either a work order process or project process for evaluation,” Jensen said.
Zoss said improvements made as a result of safety walks hinge on multiple factors.
“It depends on the suggestions, the financial ability of the university to adjust according to those suggestions and if there is a need for actual adjustments or rather a need for education on the reasons surrounding the current situation,” she said.
Swartout wants RHA to partner with SGA in the future for safety walks including administration.
“We’re really hopeful that next year we’ll be able to partner with them specifically to create not only a light walk for students to go to, but also our upper administration,” Swartout said.
(Photo: Student Government Association senators participate in a safety walk in the spring of 2014. File photo / The Volante)