After input from the University of Georgia Student Government Association and campus community members, UGA is investing about $2 million over the next two years in lighting and security improvements aimed at improving safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Over the past few years, UGA students have reached out to SGA regarding lighting and security in areas outside of campus housing. During the 2017-2018 renovations of Russell Hall, students said they did not feel safe walking in the area because construction was inhibiting lighting around Russell, said SGA President Rachel Byers.
According to Byers, SGA responded to student concerns by passing legislation in Senate, leading to lighting being installed between Russell and Creswell. Additionally, SGA took similar steps to install additional lighting in the Legion Parking Lot, Intramural Fields Parking Lot and the E23 Park and Ride Lot.
In the years leading up to the investment, SGA took part in “safety walks” in which they explored areas on campus that were in need of lighting improvement, Byers said. The latest walks were held at the end of 2019 spring semester.
“We are excited by any effort that the university administration puts into student safety,” Byers said. “Our administrators have had open ears as we all work together.”
Improvements began over the summer, with the first phase focused on LED lighting upgrades and replacing light fixtures along the most heavily used pedestrian corridors on Herty Drive, East Green Street and Hooper Street.
In a news release, Vice President for Finance and Administration Ryan Nesbit said the improvements will replace old fixtures with energy-saving LED technology, which increases the amount of illumination generated by each individual light, “thus deterring crime while also providing the added benefit of reduced energy consumption.”
Public Relations Manager Rebecca Beeler said in an email that improvements are designed to “specifically focus on using sustainable and cost-effective technology to bolster existing efforts and programs to enhance safety.”
The second phase of the project — continuing throughout the fall semester — addresses security camera coverage near pedestrian passageways on North Campus and high traffic areas.
The second phase required coordination with Athens-Clarke County Government, in which multiple cameras were placed and tested during a pilot program.
“Safety is key to the health and wellbeing of our community, and these lighting and security camera investments support our safety, security and sustainability efforts,” Beeler said.