Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Bank reduces light pollution at neighbor’s behest

Sometimes shedding a little darkness can show you’ve seen the light.

Just ask Lamont Associate Professor Antonia Banducci. Her backyard is dark again and she’s beaming. And Artem Guralev, the 2003 Daniels College finance graduate who made it happen, is feeling especially bright.

For months, Banducci had been hoping to get the First Bank branch near her home to dim the brigade of light charging into her yard from high-intensity fixtures in its parking lot.

The intensity was because the branch at East Evans Avenue and South Downing Street had been robbed four times in the last year and officials were fighting back. They erected a heavy iron fence on the eastern half of their property to block getaways to the alley and intensified the lighting in the lot.

What they didn’t count on was a bright orange glow blasting out of their lot, across the alley, over a privacy fence and onto Banducci’s property.

“The light just flooded the yard,” Banducci says.

She spoke with a bank official who pledged to solve the problem, but didn’t. Winter passed, summer blossomed and she decided to try again. This time she spoke to Guralev, 25, an assistant vice president. Guralev felt he “needed to do something,” so he checked with bank security, who told him the decision was his.

“I was worried they’d take out the light bulb and then the next guy would put it back in,” says Banducci. “But the bank made a permanent change.”

That change was to remove one of three lights from the pole closest to Banducci’s home and add it to a light pole farther away. The shift left the lot with as much light as before, but stopped the arc of illumination at Banducci’s fence.

Now, she can enjoy her yard again. More importantly, she can see the 4-foot-tall metal sculpture of a heron she has on display, a prized piece previously obscured by the bold orange assault.

Banducci says tripping up the light is fantastic. Guralev says it’s community service that’s just part of his job: “I would rather have our neighbors happy with us.”

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