The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Balancing safety, sustainability with college lighting

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The Quad lights have been taken down as of earlier this week.

While Lafayette is further emphasizing sustainability and environmental awareness, campus lighting has come under the spotlight as a potential environmental concern.  

Lighting is critical to pedestrian safety and security, yet some of the lights left on are placed in areas that hardly see pedestrian activity at night, such as those near Kirby Sports Center. Likewise, many buildings leave lights on inside after closing hours, such as Farinon College Center and Rockwell Integrated Science Center.

Jodie Frey, director of recreation services on campus, mentioned that the department is working with fellow departments on campus to maximize energy conservation.

“Our office is in favor of lighting levels suitable for safe activity and minimized when spaces are unoccupied,” Frey said. “Many of the lights that our employees control are only turned on when necessary for activity and we try to maximize natural light.”

Currently, all ornamental light posts are left on all night to illuminate sidewalks, paths and roads. Students have mentioned the need for a greater emphasis on low-carbon energy sources for the lights.

“I think it would be better to leave the lights on and focus on accelerating Lafayette’s transition to low-carbon energy sources, as well as taking other steps to decrease emissions like improving insulation and ending the practice of overheating campus buildings,” mechanical and environmental engineering major Chris Allen ‘26 said. “Overheating buildings wastes energy as it causes people to open their windows and uses the steam plant which is a dirty source of energy.”

According to director of facilities operations Scott Kennedy, “all of the site lighting was upgraded to energy-efficient LED bulbs” last year.

President Nicole Hurd and the college’s Pardee-lighting and tree-lighting initiatives have raised environmental concerns – over two dozen trees were lit at night throughout the winter.

“I think part of this sustainability work that we need to do is going to be embedded in the strategic plan,” President Nicole Hurd said. “One of my passion projects has been lighting the Quad, so we made sure that we had carbon offsets there. We’re trying to be responsible in the ways we use the lights.”  

The tree lights that lit the Quad were taken down this past week due to the longer days, according to Hurd. The nightly Quad lighting will become permanent.

“We’re installing permanent infrastructure on the Quad, so whether it’s lighting the Quad next year or having concerts on the Quad, there will not be wires going across paths or wires coming out of a window,” Hurd said. “We’re making an infrastructure investment on the Quad.”

Despite the environmental concerns raised regarding campus lighting, the Association of the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recognized Lafayette College as a forefront in renewable energy awareness, and the college received a silver rating for overall commitment to supporting a sustainable campus by the Sustainable Campus Index.

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About the Contributors
Andreas Pelekis
Andreas Pelekis, Assistant News Editor
Tennis addict.
Emma Sylvester
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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