By Kayla Perry
On Feb. 1, a new program will begin on Laurentian University’s campus: Safe Walk.
The program will allow for students on campus to be accompanied by volunteer walkers to their residences on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The creators of the program, first year students Scott Uhlman and Jordan Pennington, believe that the program is “necessary” for the university.
“Laurentian is the only university that doesn’t have (a walk-home program) in Ontario, aside from the Royal Military College, so we thought it would be a necessary service for students,” said Pennington, an outdoor adventure leadership student. “We’ve definitely seen through experience that many people may not be comfortable walking with security, or they’re too intoxicated to get to their residence alone.”
Safe Walk program will operate on Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Each walk-home will include a male and female student to escort students: there are currently 8 male and 6 female volunteer walkers.
“I think Laurentian is a safe place to walk, and security does a good job,” said Pennington. “At the same time, we wanted to make a more student-involved service, to get the student body more connected.”
Volunteer walkers will wear a distinguishable uniform, and the program will run until the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Although the program will initially only run on popular pub nights, Uhlman said the pair hopes to extend hours next year.
“We found that students feel more comfortable walking with other students, rather than the authority of security,” said Uhlman, a co-creator of the program and sports psychology student. He hopes that the program will be ready to run again when school reconvenes in September.
Charles Wilson, executive director of the SGA, said the program is a very good step in the right direction, although he believes the campus is a safe place.
“Laurentian is a very isolated campus,” Wilson said. “We have at least two security guards on campus at all times. On this campus, the threat is far more likely to come from a bear or a fox, or any of the wonderful creatures that we share this campus with, than a person attacking a person. Too often we forget how safe we are.”
To learn more about Safe Walk, to be walked home or to volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call LU with the extension 5879.