Improving lighting- improving health

By Luca Pignatiello,

Journal intern.

Each year the juniors of Friday Harbor High School take part in a community project, something that gives back to people and makes a difference in someone’s life in the community. This year juniors Becca Bryan and Gavin Alexander have made it their mission to improve the health of all the students and teachers by trying to improve the lighting in classrooms by putting it through blue light filters.

The harsh amounts of blue light that these teachers and students get each day are detrimental to their health. The fluorescent lights at the school are causing severe headaches and even migraines to those under the lights every day when they emit a high concentration of blue light.

Bryan and Alexander are stepping forward and putting their foot down on what they have found negatively affects the health of those around them, and themselves. The blue light from the overhead lights all around the school could cause headaches and migraines, blue light also stops your body from producing melatonin, so you can sleep, which in turn disrupts your circadian rhythm, and the intense rays are harmful to our eyes in general. Blocking out the blue light would, as Bryan and Alexander said, “increase the productivity in the classroom,” and “help with your sleep schedule.”

Bryan and Alexander started this Community project at the beginning of the second semester and really started to get a grasp of the situation after they both experienced headaches and Bryan migraines, due to the blue light. They also wondered how the people in their class with light sensitivity felt, so together they talked with both their classmates and teachers and learned that they were not the only ones affected negatively by the lighting. Their mentor for the project was one of the teachers who had gotten migraines, and actually bought and used blue light filters in their classroom. Bryan explained that “two teachers already have independently bought them and are using them in the classroom” since blue light can decrease the focus students have on their school work.

Though Alexander and Bryan are working hard to cover every fluorescent light in the school, as they said, the “classrooms are the priority- though having them everywhere is a hope for the future.” their goal was to raise enough money to purchase blue light filters for every classroom in the school, using Donors Choose on amazon. Using posters and online promotions the two juniors made almost half of their goal before deciding to go out into the community and try and raise more money by talking with people about their cause. As Bryan said, they were “trying to set up at the Farmer’s Market” to really get immersed in the center of the community, and put their project out there for people to support. Going out and taking a more hands-on approach worked out for Alexander and Bryan, and on Saturday, May 20, they reached their goal of $800, so they finally could purchase the filters and stop the negative effect of the blue light before the new school year starts.