Streetlights that changed from white to a more purple hue are slowly being turned back into their original color, but not all University of Nebraska-Lincoln students are excited for the switch. 

In 2019, every streetlight in Lincoln was replaced by white LED streetlights, which were part of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project. The project was created to save the city around $340,000 in energy costs each year compared to the original lights. The new LED streetlights also last 10 to 15 years longer, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird told Channel 8 News

Over 26,000 LED streetlights were installed. Out of those 26,000, 1,500 lights malfunctioned due to a component in the light failing prematurely, resulting in the lights having a purple hue instead of their original white color. 

Students across campus have different feelings about the lights being purple from the malfunction. While some enjoy the lights being different, others would rather have them back to the original color. 

“I love them,” said Kaitlynn Hoffman, a junior advertising and public relations major. “I think when I drive under them it makes me feel like it’s black lights and it makes me feel like I'm in a club.”

Hoffman is not excited about the purple-hued lights being replaced and believes the malfunctioning lights are more fun than the original white-colored lights.

“So boring,” Hoffman said. “I mean, not all of them are purple. But I always thought if all of them were purple it would be so cool. I think it would look amazing.”

Although Hoffman loves them, she did not know they were the result of a malfunction, and she wasn’t the only student unaware of the reasoning behind their hue.

“I don't really know why they’re like that,” said Ellen Everett, a junior marketing major. “I've heard a bunch of reasons. I can't remember them. But I just think it's weird. It's cool though because it's different, but it's just weird.”

Some people find them harder to drive with or distracting. However, the city has said they’re not aware of any increased risk to drivers at night with the different colored lights. 

“I kind of think that it's distracting,” said Kaitlyn Richards, a junior environmental studies and fisheries and wildlife major. “When I didn't drive as much, I thought they were kind of cool and unique to Lincoln, but now I find it kind of distracting and it kind of messes with my depth perception when I'm turning.” 

An announcement was made last October to start replacing them, but the weather slowed the process down. So far, 624 lights have been replaced and the rest are set to be replaced in the upcoming months. 

The manufacturers of the lights are paying all of the costs towards fixing the lights, including labor costs, meaning no taxpayers will pay any money towards this project. 

Lincoln isn’t the only city in the United States with malfunctioning LED streetlights – malfunctions in these lights are happening all across the midwest

“I think they look really cool, especially by the Innovation Campus where there's the greenhouse with the purple lights,” said Isabel Kolb, a sophomore political science major. “It's just a nice vibe. And I don't know that I have a difference in how well I can see driving with those versus other streets. So yeah, I kinda like it.”