When the sun goes down, the Blue Lights come on.

Blue Light Phones stand in various spots on Elon University's campus. Students who feel unsafe on campus can use one to call Campus Police. 

But for some Elon students, there’s something missing when walking on campus in the dark. 

Freshman Johanna Bogue Marlowe said other schools she toured felt safer than Elon.

"Blue Lights were very prominent across campus," Bogue Marlowe said. "A lot of them, they would talk about how you could see one no matter where you’re standing on campus, and then being at Elon, I noticed that wasn’t really the case."

Bogue Marlowe recalls her mom feeling good about sending her daughter to a school with Blue Lights. But once she got here, Bogue Marlowe had a hard time locating them. 

“They’re just not where I need them to be or a lot of other people need them to be,” Bogue Marlowe said. “Especially as a freshman, if you don’t have a lot of friends I guess and you’re coming home late from things, it’s hard, and you don’t really know what to do in those circumstances.” 

Bogue Marlowe has started a petition on Change.org to get more Blue Lights on campus. She said she was inspired to start the petition after a night out with a friend.

"My phone didn’t have any service, and hers was very close to dying, so it kind of creeped us out," Bogue Marlowe said. "We also saw a creepy van drive by. So we looked around for a Blue Light, and it took us 10 minutes to find one, and I was like, 'That’s not OK.' We’re on campus — we should be able to feel safe if we don’t have access to the phone."

Scott Jean, technical services coordinator for Campus Police, said he recalls two emergency calls from a Blue Light in his eight years at Elon.

With the LiveSafe app, students can call the police with a Blue Light-type function on their phones. With this, Jean said he believes there’s not a need for Blue Lights.

"People with smartphones, if they’re way on one side of the parking lot and the Blue Light is on the other, they’re not going to run over to a Blue Light," Jean said. 

Jean recommends that students download the LiveSafe app and utilize Campus Security escorts if they feel unsafe. 

Bogue Marlowe conducted a survey of 140 students on Facebook. One hundred claim they would feel safer if there were more Blue Lights around campus. 

Jean said Blue Lights are installed based on construction projects: what the budget is, how big the project is and what the plan looks like. 

Elon currently has 33 Blue Lights, which are primarily located in parking lots. 

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem sits on 340 acres and has over 50 Blue Lights.

But Elon sits on 656 acres of land — almost double the size of Wake Forest. 

As of now, Jean said he doesn’t know of any plans to install more. He says Blue Lights are more of an admissions selling point.  

“They’re a good thing to have, and obviously students, prospective students and parents like them,” Jean said. “It’s just they don’t really get used a whole lot.”

Bogue Marlowe has 81 out of 100 signatures on her petition so far. Once she reaches 100, she plans to send a letter to Campus Police and Jon Dooley, vice president of Student Life, advocating to install more Blue Lights.


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