Let me set the stage. You’ve spent the better part of your day locked away in a study room, working on assignments and studying flashcards until you can’t see straight anymore. You’re exhausted and frustrated, and the only thing you want is to crawl into bed after a long day of work. Leaving the library, you’re faced with the chill of winter and the all-consuming night around you. The Quad is covered in darkness, and the only visibility comes from an occasional lamp post that provides the minimal amount of light.
Your campus, so beautiful and inviting in the daytime, has now taken on a more sinister appearance. The trees cast menacing shapes, the bushes rustle, and something darts in front of you. Is it a squirrel? A cockroach? One of MC’s famed cats? You don’t know because you can’t see in the low light, but it startles you all the same. You feel the need to look over your shoulder every few seconds, and no matter how fast you walk, your dorm appears farther away with each step. The darkness seems to grow, taunting your inability to see and causing feelings of general unease.
No, this isn’t the introduction of a horror story. It’s a portrayal of the way many MC students, myself included, feel walking across campus at night.
With winter upon us, the sun is down by 6:00 p.m. That means students are still out and about when it’s completely dark, and the lighting around campus does little to help them see. Moreover, the few light sources already on campus don’t always work properly, complicating the situation further.
It’s easy to feel safe at night when you’re with a group, but that’s not always an option if you’re planning on staying at the library, the piazza, or your own study destination well past a normal time.
I’ve known students who felt the need to call friends or family while walking across campus at night just to feel less alone, and to feel a sense of calm when they can’t see anything around them. In more extreme cases, some students will practically run on their way back to a dorm if they have to be out late.
This isn’t something that should be allowed to continue at MC, a campus that prides itself on the comfort of its students.
Some of the worst areas in terms of lighting have been identified as the Quad, the back of Lat-Webb, the street in front of Ratliff, the area behind the Coliseum, and the back of Provine. Some of these areas are more heavily trafficked than others, but they each deserve to have more lighting to ease the nerves of those who have to walk near them at night.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way. When asked her thoughts on the lighting around campus, MC junior Grace Morgan said, “I think there should be more lighting, especially near the Lat-Webb, Chrestman, and Ratliff areas, since that’s close to where I live. Walking back from my car at night is sometimes unsettling.”
Sophomore Maddie Messick stated, “I do agree that there should be more lighting across the campus, particularly on the Quad. At night when you’re walking across it, there’s not a ton of visibility. It would be very beneficial if we had even just small lights along the sidewalks so you can see where you’re going.”
With these sentiments in mind, more lights should be added to MC to help with the widespread darkness across campus at night. Wanting to feel safe isn’t a huge favor to ask.