Annual safety walk improves dark areas on campus


Joseph Graham, the associate director of architecture and engineering, shines a flashlight on a burnt out light bulb in front of Franklin Hall during the annual safety walk. 

Dana Miller

Kent State Police Department, university of architect department and the electrical department banned together for an annual fall safety walk on Thursday, ensuring the campus is meeting safe standards.

“We try to work with our partners with public safety to identify all of those (problems),” said Joseph Graham, the associate director of architecture and engineering. “They certainly have their officers that are on call and patrolling the campus night and day so they usually will bring to our attention any of those (problematic) areas.”

The main things the departments look for are dark areas on campus, said Kent State Police Department Officer Tricia Knoles.

“(We look for) anywhere that a student, if they’re walking at night, may not feel very safe to walk through,” Knoles said. “Also, any areas where people might use as an opportunity to maybe do something illegal in a dark area, such as possibly smoke marijuana.”

The departments thoroughly checked every light fixture near parking lots, walkways and wooded areas during the walk to see that all is up to par.

“Whether it’s a maintenance issue, a light fixture that is out, maybe a recent construction of an area that we maybe didn’t recognize, if we think the construction caused an area to be dark,” Graham said. “It is through events like this that we hope to identify those and correct those a soon as we are made aware.”

After various light fixtures across campus were found to be burnt out during the walk,  it is then the electrical department’s job to implement the improvement and order necessary parts to fix them, said Shawn Denno, the electrical and mechanical trade superintendent.

“(We) arrange a work schedule and see what best fits, get what’s fixed first, the worst areas first I would want to address,” Denno said. “As far as us getting the job done, we’re usually maybe a week or so, but it’s dependent on the parts availability.”

Denno said he takes pride in making sure the campus is well equipped for student’s safety when walking at night.

“That’s a big part of my job, it’s always been customer service,” Dennno said.

Student’s input was something that the departments welcomed during the walk.

“I think it’s really important to have a student perspective working with the administration,” said Chelsea Kennedy, a senior public health major. “It was good to see the collaboration between different departments on campus and to know that they are looking out for the student’s safety during the night time.”

The departments agreed this event benefits Kent State in helping make a safer community.

“It’s always been our greatest concern, the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Knoles said. “It’s been our main priority here.”

Dana Miller is the safety/transportation reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].