Blue lights on campus serve as last resorts to anyone who needs help in a complicated or difficult circumstance.
The blue lights on campus are so much scenery on campus. They fade into the background despite their bright white lettering, “EMERGENCY” printed down their sides. And blue lights are something you’d hope to know where to find if you found yourself in an emergency.
Some people have started to ask whether these small towers are all that necessary. After all, Campus Security patrols all the time, day and night. The campus is well-lit, and even where it’s not, it’s a small campus. You can walk a couple dozen feet and be under a light again. We have cell phones with SOS beacons.
The problem isn’t that these options aren’t available. It’s that the bad thing happens under ridiculous circumstances. You get a flat tire the day after you put your spare in the garage. The only pair of shoes that looked good with your outfit broke and you’re wearing uncomfortable ones and now you have to walk upstairs and you trip and fall in front of an audience and you take another person down with you.
Or less pleasantly, your phone dies while you’re out and no one has a spare charger. You’re walking across campus and think someone is following you. You don’t have any data left so you can’t use that cool app you just downloaded that lets your friends know where you are. Campus Security was there just a second ago and then turned the corner. A million things can go wrong.
That’s not to say that they will! Plenty of people’s phones die and nothing bad happens. People manage to not see Campus Security for days on end without needing to hit the emergency buttons on the blue lights. But blue lights exist because the people who are supposed to protect students understand that life is chaotic, and weird things happen all the time. Your cell service goes out, and how is that even possible? You maybe saw a shadow, but it was actually that guy you’ve noticed who only talks to you when you’re alone. You put your phone in your bag and you can’t find it while hastily rummaging through the pockets. If your friend is injured and needs help, you can hit the button and go check on them.
Not only can you use blue lights to get help, they might even have a deterrent effect. If you’re being followed and run up to a blue light, the person nearby might think twice about following. The threat of nearly-instant help in the form of Campus Security is an easy way to get someone to leave you alone, or to feel more confident until help arrives. It’s not always possible to stick by people when you’re just trying to get from one place to another, but you can always be assured that the blue lights haven’t moved, Campus Security will know where to go and you can find one in a hurry.
When something terrible might happen or is happening, you want an easy way to get help. You don’t want to rely on luck that you’ll be able to get to your phone, that it’ll be charged or that there will be someone nearby that notices you and can help you. Blue lights don’t need to be used every day to be useful. They only need to be available if an emergency occurs.