California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Shedding Light Upon Campus Security

This May, I will be finishing up my third year at California Lutheran University, and during my time here, an array of thoughts and feelings concerning the safety of the university have come into my head.

One thought that has not left me since I was a freshman is that there is not enough lighting around the exterior campus, and whatever lighting is up is way too dim.

Almost every night last year, my roommate and I would walk down Chapel Drive behind Mt. Clef Stadium, through the trees in front of the library, and finally through Kingsmen Park to pick up our dinner at the Centrum. Every night that we walked that route when it was foggy and dark, we were freaked out and felt uncomfortable.

This year, my roommates and I walk to improv every other Thursday night. We walk down

Campus Drive and again down

Chapel Drive to the Forum. On the side of the street of Mt.

Clef Stadium there is a decent amount of lighting, but once we cross the street to the North/South parking lot it is so dark that I feel I canโ€™t even see in front of me.

โ€œIโ€™ll be driving and I wonโ€™t see someone and theyโ€™ll get mad at me because theyโ€™re running across the street in front of my car…It needs to be brighter. The main road needs more light, too,โ€ said sophomore Andrew Gregorovic. โ€œThereโ€™s not really any street lights anywhere… if someone is being careless or stupid, they could get hurt, and then itโ€™d probably come back to bite the school because thereโ€™s not any lighting.โ€

This sentiment is echoed by Gregorovicโ€™s friends, who also feel it is too dark and dangerous, especially when people are wearing dark clothing.

โ€œIโ€™ve been in the car with some friends and they complain…When people wear black sweatshirts or something and they walk across, I canโ€™t see them. Even when my car is completely clean, the windows are completely clear, I still canโ€™t see them because thereโ€™s not enough light,โ€ Gregorovic said.

However, Cal Lutheran is taking the steps to gradually improve all lighting around campus. According to Mark Jacobsen, Director of Facilities Manage-

ment, the hope is to eventually make the move to all-LED lights around campus, with their allotted budget of $30,000 a year specifically for lighting. LED lights are brighter, whiter, more energy efficient and might last for around 10 years, Jacobsen said.

Facilities also has their way of figuring out which area of Cal Lutheran will be next on the lighting improvement list.

โ€œFirst off, once a year we get together with people from Res Life, Campus Safety, Facilities, a representative for the adult evening class program, typically a student representative or even a couple of them. We meet like at 7 p.m. and we walk through campus, and we look at and identify areas that need lighting improvement,โ€ Jacobsen said. โ€œDuring those walks, weโ€™ll also notice and identify and I will submit work orders when we find lights that are burned out. Typically, people have key areas that they want to focus on in addition to just going around and walking.โ€

This year, the chosen project was the courtyard by Mt. Clef. According to Jacobsen, this area was identified year after year as needing additional lighting.

According to Jacobsen, last year the focus was on the darkness where Campus Drive meets Memorial Parkway and that area was selected as the capital project. Bollard lights and two street lights were added there in order to illuminate the area, which has made me feel somewhat safer so far over the last year.

However, Cal Lutheran will never be fully brightly lit and illuminated. According to Ryan Van Ommeren, Associate Vice President of Facilities Operation and Planning, because of the residential area the university is located in, there are codes set in place by the City of Thousand Oaks that the university must follow.

โ€œWeโ€™ll never be as bright as a mall parking lot. They get a different code that they get to adhere to. Itโ€™s much brighter. We have a much more restricted limit on how much lighting we can actually do. But we do see the things like the Spine. You walk down the Spine and it feels very brightly lit. That was a project we did maybe 5 or 6 years ago,โ€ Van Ommeren said.

Though I am still of the opinion that there should still be more abundant and brighter lighting on campus, I do appreciate and understand the efforts of the university to gradually improve all areas.

The safety of students is a major issue on college campuses across the country and Cal Lutheran seems to be taking all of the necessary steps to ensure that students, faculty and staff alike all feel safe on campus. Change does not happen overnight and with a limited budget of $30,000 a year, it will happen slowly but surely.

Jacobsen said he encourages students, or anyone on campus, to put in a work order or call Facilities if they ever happen to see burned-out light. Each light is numbered, and the number can be found on a small brass plate on the lightpost for easy reporting.

Jacobsen also encourages students to join the lighting walk, as anyone is welcome to come along. It takes place once a year, usually after the fall time change. If you do decide to join, I will probably see you there.

Amber Rocha
Staff Writer
Published April 15th, 2015

More to Discover