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After a long day of work and classes, students returning to their dorm rooms on a dusky winter night should open the door to a welcoming space. However, the lighting situation in many of the on-campus dorms leaves them dim and uninviting.
While certain dorms, like those in Susan B. Anthony Hall, are relatively well-lit, the situation in many of the older rooms is completely inadequate. On the Residential Quadrangle, the ceiling lights only suffice to dimly illuminate half the room. The Hill Court dorms are perhaps the worst offenders. The lone light in the common rooms is scarcely enough to illuminate the phone directly underneath it, much less the whole room, and the dorm rooms themselves — particularly those with lofts — are even worse.
Students attempting to remedy the situation by bringing their own lamps will find the matter difficult. Most standing lamps — specifically those that can have upward-facing light bulbs — are banned under the University’s fire code. Meanwhile, the average desk lamp is going to be utterly insufficient for illuminating a large common room. This is not to condemn the fire prevention policies — exposed bulbs can pose legitimate risks — but, if the dorms were properly lit, students would have fewer incentives to ignore the protocol.
As a solution, the dorms do not need to be retrofitted with completely new wiring. Rather, the light fixtures ought to be upgraded to the newer models. In Hill Court, the thick light coverings are nearly opaque, preventing any dispersion and exacerbating the difficulty. In Southside and Towers, the fluorescent lights produce an audible whine. Simply exchanging these with more efficient and brighter replacements would make an enormous difference.
Increasing light levels will do more than just ease eye strain. Maybe, if these changes are made, we could make the world a little brighter.



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