UT students create neighborhood association; first meeting this week

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week, University of Texas students will meet in hopes of getting their neighborhood association off the ground. 

“It’s not your mother’s neighborhood association,” Allie Runas, the chair of the West Campus Neighborhood Association said. 

It’s an idea they’ve been tossing around for a while that’s finally becoming a reality with the group’s first meeting happening this week. 

“I think it’s kind of the student mentality of it’s West Campus and I’ll just live with it, so a lot of things don’t get fixed because we just learn to live with it,” Runas said. 

Runas said she’s taking these steps to ensure her future Longhorns feel safe and improve their overall living conditions. 

“Ultimately, my main goal with this is to inspire a sense of ownership of the residents of West Campus to take care of West Campus and see the problems that we have to get fixed,” she said. 

Runas says she personally would like to see issues with cracked sidewalks and dim lighting tackled. 

For many students, lighting is their number one priority. 

“All the old buildings they tend to be dim so it’s like, ‘Oh crap! Let me walk very fast,’” Jada Hatcher, a UT student said.

Another student, James Gerwe, added, “There’s like no lights. That’s kind of dangerous.”

Student Emma White agreed, “I feel like it’s not really like that safe to walk at night, especially as a girl so I feel like it would be better if it was a little more lit up.”

The West Campus Neighborhood Association will host its first meeting Thursday starting at 7 p.m. at Space 24 Twenty by the Lucky Lab and Urban Outfitters.

They’re hoping students and business owners alike will show up and participate. Runas said she hopes to hear from everyone who lives and benefits from West Campus. 

Lighting Study Findings

Poor lighting has been a priority since the murder of UT freshman Haruka Weiser in 2016. A recent year-long study by city transportation officials found that lights in the area are not working, some have been vandalized, or are blocked by trees.

It also found the area needs nearly 230 more lights. The city estimates it’ll cost around $2 million dollars to fix.

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