The War on Warm Lighting

Quinn Daley

November can be a stressful time of the year for college students. Students find themselves stuck in a seemingly endless loop of studying, writing lab reports and essays, and taking exams accompanied by increasingly cold and cloudy days as the transition between the autumn and winter seasons begins. This dull weather and slough of academic obligations are unfortunately made worse by walking into academic buildings with harsh, white lighting that reminds us all of the type of atmosphere found in prisons.

As academic institutions across the country are making a transition from using warm, incandescent light bulbs to harsh, fluorescent LED light bulbs, students are likely feeling less relaxed when walking into class. Why would the university switch to lighting that inhibits its students’ capacity to learn in a calm atmosphere?

The answer is quite simple. First, incandescent light bulbs are not nearly as energy or cost efficient as LED light bulbs. LED bulbs take up a sixth of the power of incandescent bulbs, and the lifespan of LED’s are twenty-one times greater than that of an incandescent. For one or two bulbs, this is a relatively insignificant difference, but the lighting up the University of Minnesota requires thousands of them. The university is exacting whatever energy reducing measures it can as a part of its climate action plan to cut campus emissions in half by 2020, and it also probably doesn’t mind cutting its energy spending as a part of it. Cutting the energy consumption and costs by switching to LEDs paired with cutting the ridiculous amount of time on the account of university maintenance workers to change incandescent light bulbs so often seems to be enough reason from the university’s perspective to justify depriving its students of much needed warm lighting.

The university has valid reasons for switching its light bulbs from incandescent to LED, but I’m going to make my own personal agenda more important than adhering to a reasonable argument.

I mean, who needs energy efficiency anyway when it comes at the expense of what I want to happen? Would the university care about this issue if energy costs weren’t as much of an issue? The government needs to levy a tax on all of the people who make more money than I do so that they can just pay for this specific non-issue I am aggressively advocating for. The battle for warm lighting is the most important social event in history, and anyone that refuses to support the issue I support is a fascist and hates the idea of compassion.

When asked about the issue of the lack of warm lighting on campus, former student Matthew Strauss commented, “I am extremely undecided on this issue. I feel both sides have good points”. These types of radically centrist views are absolutely not justifiable and actually offensive. People are either on my side in this issue and enjoy the calm tones of warm lighting, or they hate poor people. 

When asked about his preferences with regards to warm lighting opposed to LED lighting, Junior Christian Fiksdal remarked, “What the f*** is the difference?”. While I didn’t inform him of the full details centered around the argument, he is still at fault for failing to be informed in the first place, and he deserves to be insulted instead of educated about the full nature of the issue. 

Warm lighting needs to be the standard of lighting of campus again, regardless of whether or not this argument is based in reason. This is because I want it to happen, and that justifies doing it. We deserve to walk into class and not feel like we are in an institution, regardless of the fact that the university is, in fact, an institution.