One of the most prominent complaints from the student body in recent years has been the lack of action about poor street lighting in some off-campus neighborhoods. Although there haven’t been many visible results to date, the Michigan Student Assembly has been working diligently on the issue for months and we are optimistic that we will all begin to see brighter streets by the end of this semester.

It has been a difficult problem to fix, due in part to both a lack of funding in the city budget and the inherent difficulties with navigating the city bureaucracy. Through our efforts, we are close to finalizing the installation of additional city streetlights in the neighborhood south of Hill Street. These lights will reach some of the darkest areas, such as the triangle intersection of East University, Oakland and Tappan streets.

While the new city lights will undoubtedly make the streets safer, the MSA Campus Safety Commission is committed to doing much more to ensure that students have a safe way to walk home every night. Doing so will require help from all of you.

The MSA CSC has launched a project to ensure that every off-campus house and apartment building is equipped with an automatic porch light that turns on by itself at night and off in the morning. These lights will act as a deterrent against home invasions, especially during breaks when many houses would ordinarily be completely dark. Additionally, these lights will contribute to making the streets brighter and safer. Imagine how much of a difference would be made by installing lights in the front of each house.

After securing the funds to provide property owners and management companies with the light sensors at no cost, the MSA CSC contacted a number of them through the mail to ask for support in our efforts. A meeting in the fall with a large contingent of local landlords and property managers regarding the lighting issue encouraged MSA’s belief that we would get a sizable buy-in for this project.

Sadly, this was not the case. It has now been over a month since we sent letters asking for participation and we have only received one response, albeit a very positive one. Dan of Dan’s Houses has committed to installing the sensors on nearly 75 properties located in off-campus neighborhoods.

So we are reaching out to students to ask for their help. We now need you to lobby your landlords and management companies to participate in this project. We need you to call, e-mail or visit your landlords to voice your concerns about dark streets and to tell them that you want an automatic porch light from MSA.

Ensure landlords that the cost to them is nearly nothing — we provide the sensor for free and your landlord puts it on an existing socket and bulb. All landlords are required to do is send an e-mail to campussafety@umich.edu and the sensors will be ordered and delivered to them as quickly as possible.

Please take one minute out of your day to reach out to your landlord so that we can truly take a step toward making the night bright. Students with questions about this project can e-mail the MSA CSC at campussafety@umich.edu.

This viewpoint was submitted on behalf of the MSA Campus Safety Commission.

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