Lighting of the Lawn amps up security

Stricter policies to be enforced at this year’s light show, including metal detectors and clear bag requirement

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Two points of entry with metal detectors will be on either side of the bottom of the Lawn near Garrett Hall and Rouss and Robertson Halls on the South Lawn, which will host multiple food trucks. 

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

Following its procedures for other major events this past semester, the University is stepping up its security for Lighting of the Lawn.  

Holly Stevens, a fourth-year Commerce student, serves as an executive co-chair for the Lighting of the Lawn committee. She said the amped-up security is following “what the University officials deem necessary protocols.”

“Across the country you see tragic events that happen, and, although we can't predict the future, it is important to do all that we can to protect our University students and Charlottesville community and make sure they are safe at this wonderful event,” Stevens said. 

According to Stevens, the Lawn will close at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to prepare for the event.

Two points of entry with metal detectors will be on either side of the bottom of the Lawn near Garrett Hall and Rouss and Robertson Halls on the South Lawn, which will host multiple food trucks. Attendees will be allowed to re-enter at any time.

Like the security during athletic games and the Bicentennial celebration, the University will be implementing the clear bag policy and forbidding food and liquids upon entry. However, the event will provide water bottle filling stations inside the parameters.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Emma Kulow, co-chair of the Fourth Year Trustees Programs Committee and a fourth-year College student.

Kulow stressed how long it may take for attendees to pass through security. She said, in recent years, between 4,000 and 5,000 people descended onto the Lawn around 9:30 p.m., just in time to catch the light show, which starts at 10:00 p.m. 

“This year there is no way that number [of people] will be able to get through security in time [for the light show],” Kulow said. “I recommend getting there at nine at the latest because there is just no way of knowing how long security is going to take.”

With all the new security, Stevens said the committee’s main concern is keeping the Lawn safe and protecting students and other attendees at such a large event. She said these protocols are becoming just another part of college life at many universities across the country.

“We have more and more people coming to the event each year, last year surpassing around 13,000 in total attendance, so it is important to have people there to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Stevens said.

The University has recently sent two emails to the student body that outlined the new security measures. The committee has also created an app for the event that can be downloaded at https://guidebook.com/app/uvaguides/guide/lotl/. The app contains information about the new protocols, pavilion reception locations and the performance schedule, as well as a feature to help attendees gauge wait times for the security lines.

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