The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
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Izzy Pipa

UVM needs better street lighting

October 21, 2021

Walking down Colchester Avenue on any quiet weeknight, the only light comes from headlights of passing cars.

Whether it’s the Trinity parking lot, outside of the Davis Center or any pedestrian walkway throughout campus, UVM streets need increased lighting.

Emails and CatAlerts students received from UVM Police Services of reported assaults, stalkings and alleged gunmen, illustrate the potential danger that looms in the anonymity of the Vermont night. 

Fortunately, my worst experience walking down Colchester only includes tripping on a few raised sidewalk squares.

But winter is quickly approaching and with the threat of black ice. I fear a future stumble might not end with a simple gathering step.

I fear the car that slams on its brakes at the last second or the biker that swerves out of the way won’t register an unseen pedestrian in time.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We do not have to wait for tragedy to strike in order to make positive change. 

A quick scroll of the UVM website would lead any concerned student to believe the school values the safety of students on campus.

“Maintaining a safe and secure campus…is of the highest priorities for the University of Vermont,” UVM’s Safety and Security Philosophy states.

Yet, the lack of lighting around campus means students’ walks are dark and dangerous.

In 2019, the University of Chicago Urban labs studied crime rates and lighting in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the New York City Police Department and the New York City Housing Authority.

Developments with better lighting experienced crime rates significantly lower than developments without good lighting, the study stated.

If UVM wants to protect its students, it’s time for the school to finally get ahead of a problem and install more lights.

Unfortunately, for whatever nonsense reason, UVM does not own all the streets that connect campus buildings, according to the Campus Map. 

Despite not owning all of the land, UVM should show it truly cares about its students by adding lights on the streets they do control.

Better lit streets will limit the potential danger that is currently present on Colchester Avenue and other streets.

Please, UVM, do the right thing and protect your students with better lit streets. 

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