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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Campus

Campus organizations team up to host annual ‘Walk in the Dark’


During the walk, participants identified areas around campus that need additional lighting. | Courtesy of Jesus Acevedo Jr.

Students and staff were guided around campus after dark to express their lighting and safety concerns during the annual “Walk in the Dark.” 

The event was held Wednesday, Nov. 15, and was hosted by the UH Police Department, the Office of Emergency Management, the Fire Marshal’s office, the Residence Halls Association, Campus Facilities and the Student Government Association.

“Walk in the Dark helps because we work during the day, so we don’t really get a chance to look at any of these lights after hours,” UH electrician Aaron Rife said. “The fact that we can all get together and do this helps us get a better hold on what needs to be fixed”

There were approximately 40 participants at the event, according to SGA President Benjamin Rizk. 

During the walk, participants identified areas around campus that need additional lighting. Some of the locations included the Cullen Family Plaza Fountain, Agnes Arnold Hall, Wilhelmina’s Grove and the Moody Towers Residence Hall

“Walk in the Dark is very helpful because it helps bridge the gap between students and faculty,” said political science senior Sophia Wilson. “It’s a great way for student’s voices to be heard.”

In addition to ongoing maintenance through UH FIXIT, Facilities and Construction Management has begun working on the long-awaited Campus Lighting Project after experiencing delays due to the Cullen Boulevard Project and COVID-19 complications.

The project will install approximately 60 new light poles, three new emergency call phones and 60 new security cameras in parking lots around campus, according to David Oliver, senior associate vice president for facilities and construction management. 

“The safety and security of our campus community is a top priority,” Oliver said. “We want to provide our students, faculty and staff a safer experience on campus.”

Phase I of the Campus Lighting Project will include parking lots 1C, 1D, 8A, 8B and 9C. Construction has begun in parking lots 1C and 1D and is scheduled to be completed over winter break. The project is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2024 fall semester.

The Centennial Plan construction project is also currently in progress and is scheduled to be completed by 2026. The project includes the demolition of Farish Hall, the creation of a new student plaza, new monument gateways at university entrances and a revamped outdoor space. 

The Centennial Plan will install additional lighting fixtures along with other improvements in Lynn Eusan Park, Cougar Woods, Butler Plaza and Wilhelmina’s Grove.

“Every year we see improvements, and there were much fewer lights this time last year. Compared to many other campuses, UH is very well lit, but there is always room for improvement,” said UH Police Department sergeant Federico Perez III.

Campus safety is a sizable concern as American School Search gave UH a D- rating in safety and over the past 60 days. over 100 cases of theft and around 20 cases of assault have been reported.

“Sometimes I have to stay on campus really late at night, and I don’t always feel safe,” said environmental design junior Yamin Saab. “I have friends who park in lots where cars have gotten stolen, so I always try to stay as safe as I can.”

Aside from the Campus Lighting Project, students are encouraged to fill out service requests through UH FIXIT to address any additional safety or maintenance concerns. 

“Our main concern is that students can go here and be safe and successful,” UHPD officer Amir Watkins said. “It’s our job to make sure you can come here and solely focus on getting a higher education without having to worry about your safety.” 

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