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Dark campus paths leave students fearful; upgrades next year

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Poorly lighted walkways around campus have left some students feeling unsafe when walking back to their dorms or cars at night.

Of the 10 students interviewed for this article, all shared experiences of glancing over their shoulders when walking from the Podium to their residence or parked vehicles.

Facilities Management has plans to update lighting around campus, according to Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, university spokesman.

“The safety and well-being of our campus community is paramount,” said Carleo-Evangelist in a statement Friday.

Carleo-Evangelist explains that next year, UAlbany will begin a lighting systems upgrade across the entire campus.

The upgrade will increase the lighting outside the campus and inside the buildings as well as decreasing the amount of energy consumed by implementing LED lighting systems.

Specifically, the project will tackle areas that are currently the darkest. These areas include parking lots and walkways and the entire project will cost about $7 million dollars.

The parking lot for Dutch Quad is not included in this upgrade.

Carleo-Evangelist explains, “The Dutch Quad parking lot is not included in this project — But only because a comprehensive parking lot upgrade (not just lighting) is planned for that lot in the near future.”

Students should expect this project to be completed by the end of next year.

Gabrielle Santo, a freshman living on State Quad, resorts to using the small flashlight on her phone when making the trip back from the podium along an unlighted path behind University Hall.

“Overall, I think that if the school could have more light such as street lamps outside the State Quad structure, that State Quad could be even safer,” said Santo.

Staying on the podium past 8 p.m. can mean walking through a quiet and dark campus with few other students around to deter possible threats.

This can be true beyond State Quad, like when off-campus senior Marina Sawiris has to decide when to quit work.

“Sometimes I have to cut my studying short because I know if I stay any longer, I’ll be too scared to walk back to my car alone,” Sawiris said.

An important system available to students who would like to walk with someone to their
residences is the “Don’t Walk Alone” Safety Escort System. The system is in effect from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Sunday to Thursday nights.

A male or female escort will meet up with the individual needing assistance in the uptown campus library lobby and walk them to their rooms or cars. in the later months of the year, the sun begins to set closer to 6 p.m., several hours before escorts are available in the program.

In addition, the program isn’t in effect during college recess, on Fridays, or during the summer. Students, during these times, need to find alternative methods to get back to their residences if they do not prefer to walk by themselves.

Students are encouraged to report a specific issue with a facility, according to Carleo-Evangelist.

“Facilities and UPD review these suggestions and are open to making improvements
when those improvements are necessary and appropriate,” he said.

To report an issue, students can visit: albany.edu/facilities/feedback.html.

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