As you all may know, Rider University has now been “going green,” as they say, for a few years. In other words, we’re trying to be as eco-friendly as possible. With the construction of the West Village Commons, the LEED-approved new residence hall, Rider is becoming a staple for green policies around the area. The Quench stations are also a wonderful way of green adaption on campus, but not all of Rider is eco-friendly.
There are some things on campus that do not promote the essence of being green. The residence halls and academic buildings are an example of wasted energy. The lights in the residence hall rooms are fluorescent, which is fine because you can always turn the lights off at night. If your light is too bright you can use a lamp. This doesn’t work when it comes to the hallway lights. The hallway lights are just about as bright as the ones in the actual residence halls. However, these lights are much less eco-efficient. These lights don’t have convenient on/off switches, and that’s a good thing. However, the lights don’t always need to be at full strength; frankly, it’s a waste of energy.
While I was at a summer camp at Drew University, I experienced a successful conservation technique firsthand. During the wee hours of the morning, 3-6 a.m., the hallway lights were dimmed on campus. This was a great thing for several reasons: one, it conserves energy when the hallways aren’t being used; and two, if you needed to use the hallways, the lights weren’t painfully bright. The decreased level of light made it easier to maneuver through the corridors because you could see where you were going.
Another way to conserve energy in the hallways could be to switch off every other light. This leaves plenty of light to see while decreasing the amount of energy used. This idea may be harder to accomplish because the lights would probably have to be rewired to fit a new circuit board; however, in the long run it would save more money than it wastes.
Much like the residence halls, the lights in the academic buildings always seem to be on. I realize that it may be necessary to keep them on for the janitors, but the same actions can be applied to the buildings’ hallway lights. There seems to be no need for the lights on all floors in all four buildings to be on at 11 on a Thursday night.
I’m sure many will ask, “What about the safety risks?” Well, as a visually impaired student, I am advocating these changes and am not worried about my safety. As previously mentioned, I spent a summer at Drew University with lights that dimmed at night and it was actually more helpful for them to be dim than extremely bright. For me, the brightness is more of a safety issue now because I can’t fully open my eyes at night, which prevents me from seeing where I’m going. The lights would only be dimmed at specific times when the hallways are used least because there will be little traffic in first place.
Overall, changing the lights in the residence halls to be greener could only benefit the university. The decrease in energy use and expenses would be significant. Rider would also be one step closer to being as green as possible.
Cathleen Leitch is a freshman journalism major.