Better lighting and sidewalks are among a few things on a “wish list” that will soon be sent to University officials.
After the Necessary Improvements to Transform our Environment (N.I.T.E.) Walk on Tuesday night, coordinator of Student Government’s Student Life and Traditions Sarah Shoffner said there needs to be more safety for students walking across campus at night.
“I should be able to walk out of the Marshall Student Center (MSC) at 1 a.m. and not feel like I could get attacked,” she said. “I feel that every student has the right to feel safe on their campus.”
That concern led Shoffner and other participants to add a new sidewalk that runs from Fowler Avenue to the Library and along Leroy Collins Boulevard to their list.
Without a sidewalk, it’s unsafe for students to walk in that area, she said.
It’s more than just physical safety, N.I.T.E. Vice President Travis Kulczynski said, there’s also a concern for students’ “mental safety,” too.
“Knowing (students) can walk to their car without the fear of being attacked” is important for their mental well-being, he said.
Participants separated into four groups to walk around various areas of the campus.
Kulczynski’s group walked from MSC to Student Services, around WUSF and toward the residence halls, where they spent a majority of their time.
Participants also noted areas with insufficient lighting because they were either broken or turned off, including the emergency blue lights, cracked or uneven sidewalks, overgrown shrubbery and low-hanging tree branches.
N.I.T.E. President Eileen Dabrowski said safety concerns fall into two categories.
One list of immediate repairs will be sent in a few weeks to Physical Plant, which handles maintenance on campus. Dabrowski said she wants to see the lights replaced or repaired, trimmed hedges and cut branches within a month. Physical Plant usually does a good job responding to the requests, she said.
Dabrowski said the N.I.T.E. Walk helps Physical Plant keep track of any safety issues on campus.
“They don’t have the manpower to go around and do these safety audits, so they’re really appreciative that students, faculty, administrators and staff care enough to do it,” she said.
The other list includes items such as new stoplights and sidewalks that will take longer to be implemented. This list will be sent to USF’s administration.
The N.I.T.E. Walk occurs bianually, once in the fall and spring semester.
Last year, N.I.T.E. was responsible for the installation of a traffic light on campus, Dabrowski said. About $1,500 in student-paid Activity and Service Fees fund N.I.T.E., Dabrowski said.
The organization also raises money from bake sales and donations from vendors and local restaurants.
“I think it’s one of the most important things we do all year,” Dabrowski said.