by: Jane Morrell
This week will be exploring a hot button issue among our student body: the football stadium and our new basketball arena lights staying on past 2 a.m. every night.
After conducting a poll of around 50 students, asking for their opinions and what were their major concerns. Were they for the lights burning brightly throughout the night? Or were they tired of this light show?
The students that were surveyed really took their time putting serious thought into their answers. Every student that was asked weighed the pros and cons of the lights. Mini debates would form when brought up with groups of people, even some of the students who live off campus wanted to give their input.
The most persistent argument that I noticed centered on security vs. cost.
Students that were pro-lights, used safety as their main argument, explaining that they felt the lights help with the safety on campus, especially with the recent crime that happened on campus this semester.
Savannah Farrow, a freshman nursing major from Huntsville, shared her opinion and said, “I think that it’s a good idea to have the lights on at night because it keeps everything well lit and makes it less sketchy.”
Alyssa Lester, a sophomore undeclared from Robertsdale, said: “I think that the lights can provide safety for students. However, I do feel as though other measures can be taken in keeping the lights on and off.”
“A timer, at least, is needed,” said Deirde Walker, a senior accounting major from Ozark. “I like the showmanship of leaving the lights on in the evening but having the lights on at 2 a.m. is a bit silly. It’s a waste of power. It also advertises the equipment to those interested in illegal activities.”
In a brief interview with Herbert Reeves, Dean of Students, he explained that the arena lights do have timers, called photocell timers or timers that measure light. The photocell timers around the arena automatically shut off the lights when sunlight hits the sensors. The stadium lights are not under timers, they are controlled by a switch.
On the opposing side, the argument that there are mass expenses that the lights are causing. For some students, money is very limited due to all the buying of textbooks, paying tuition, etc.
Having those lights stay on so late into the night costs money, but the big question is how much? Herbert Reeves admitted to not being able to answer this, simply because he did not know the answer.
What he did share were some of the reasons why these lights remain on throughout the night. He explained that seeing as it is basketball season, occasionally visiting teams and ours use the arena at night to practice. Even though it is not football season, they also still practice on the stadium field from time to time. The lights that most people are seeing at night, according to Reeves are security lights, which he feels are very important due to these past few weeks.
Paige Bartlett, a freshman nursing major form Decatur, questioned the usefulness of the security lights. “Those lights only illuminate one part of the campus. This idea of these lights keeping us “safe” is ridiculous, and far from the truth. Here’s a good idea why don’t we have more lights on campus? That would be the more logical answer to this security problem, and it would more likely be less expensive.”
Many students felt the same as Paige about the money being used to pay the electricity bill should be focused on other problems on campus.
Holli Wood, a senior marine biology major from Wicksbrug, said, “I believe there are better ways to do with our tuition dollars.”
Abbie Gibbs, a sophomore social work major from Andalusia, said other things we could purchase with all that money, “Night vision goggles would be a good option.”
In the end, those who were against the lights outnumbered those who were in support of the lights with 30 out of 50 students saying that they were anti-lights.
So many questions were left unanswered about the stadium and the arena lights, and I don’t think this issue is going to die any time soon.