The Community Welfare Proposal, a stepping stone towards increasing public safety in Bellingham, was passed by the AS Board of Directors on Feb. 19.

Now that the proposal has been approved, AS Local Liaison Joseph Levy may lobby and petition the city of Bellingham for more street lights. In order to show community support, Levy has been gathering signatures from one of the targeted areas for lights, Laurel Park, and currently has over 100 signatures with the numbers growing.

Levy acts as a liaison between the Western community and the city. The issues that Levy communicates to city legislators are determined by proposals that are passed by the AS Board of Directors. 

“Having a really comprehensive Community Welfare Proposal allows Joseph to speak in favor of methods to increase public health and safety,” said VP for Governmental Affairs and proposal sponsor Kaylee Galloway.

According to the proposal, “In order to promote community safety, we advocate for more lighting, increased panic buttons, and expansion of sidewalks.” Levy is currently focusing on the lack of street lighting.

“The most complaints I get are for lighting,” Levy said. “When people are in light, they are less likely to commit a crime.”

After attending the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission, Levy said that Bellingham mayor Kelli Linville supports more lighting. With the city’s support, Levy is now working on figuring out the logistics, but hopes to have more lights installed by next winter when it becomes dark again.

“It’s really inspiring to see how much the community supports Western students, and that in a lot of ways, we have similar visions toward what we see to be a safe community,” Galloway said.

While it has already been passed by the board, the proposal is constantly evolving. Galloway said the board hopes to incorporate topics addressing pedestrian safety and expanding transportation options in upcoming phases of the proposal.

“The AS is always dedicated to representing students, student interests and student needs. We really do see increase in our community safety and community welfare as something students are passionate about, and that’s why we’re really passionate about it and working on it,” Galloway said.

Levy says his work is directly driven by what will help students the most and he welcomes feedback and input from the community. He may be contacted at as.local.liaison@wwu.edu.