Holiday lights allowed in rooms

Alex Jensen, Staff writer

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Students will no longer be told to take down their lights or to need to hide them away during fire drills because Residence Life now allows decorative lights in dorms and apartments.

The new decorative lights policy states that students may hang LED lights “as long as they do not violate the manufacturer guidelines.”

String lights must be plugged into the wall or “approved power strip with a breaker switch.”

Students will be charged for any damages caused by the misuse of the lights.

After an abundance of comments from students about wanting decorative lights allowed in the dorms, the Residence life staff looked into the option.

They talked to other institutions that had already allowed lights, such as Willamette, Pacific University and the University of Portland, to see if Linfield could potentially do the same.

“I think it’s great that [lights] got approved because there are a lot of other restrictions on how to decorate your room it’s nice to have them without breaking policy,” sophomore Dana Brooks said.

After consulting with facilities, the Residence Life staff decided that LED lights are the best option. Jeff Mackay, director of Residence Life, and Kathleen Jensen, area director for leadership development, stressed that the decorative lights have to be LED because they don’t use as much power or overheat.

Mackay said the old, non-LED lights used a lot of electricity and had a greater chance of blowing the circuits in dorm rooms when combined with more electrical devices.

Many of the dorm rooms were not designed to distribute that abundance of power.

Jensen said the standard lights posed a fire hazard because of the high temperature they can reach.

The LED lights, on the other hand, do not because they can get to scorching temperatures.

Mackay said that the standard lights would sometimes leave burn marks on the walls that facilities would then need to paint over.

Both said that they want students to feel as much at home when at school and that decorating their dorm rooms how they want plays a big factor. Mackay simply wants all the decorations to be safe.

He said that during room checks, Residence Advisors will be looking to make sure the decorative lights are LED and that the number of lights plugged into an outlet meet the manufacturer specifications.

“If students feel more at home in the halls then it helps build that community to make this place feel like a home, which is what we want our students to have,” Jensen said.

“I think the lights create a better bond in the residence halls by making it feel more like home,” Brooks said.