A new safety service for students afraid to walk alone across campus was implemented this weekend. SafeWalk, organized by the Unity Coalition, Georgetown University Student Association and DPS, provided pairs of student escorts during the late evening and early morning hours.

The SafeWalk program came out of an Unity Coalition initiative in responding to the incidents on Sept. 11. The Unity Coalition, which is made up of leaders of various clubs and organizations around the Georgetown campus, then approached GUSA about the program idea.

“We thought it was a good precaution in the wake of last week’s tragic events,” GUSA President Brian Walsh (COL ’02) said.

“It was an extra safety measure that proved effective in making the campus seem more secure,” Senior Class Representative Keavney Klein (NHS ’02) said of the program.

The SafeWalk program took place Friday and Saturday nights, between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.

According to organizers, the program has two main aspects. The first was the pairs of students on duty during these hours, ready to escort students to different locations around campus, which included all the university housing.

Students wishing for an escort off campus were instructed to use the SafeRides program.

The second was pairs of students patrolling the campus itself, ready to help anyone who needed it. Their purpose was to “have an increased sense of security on campus,” said acky Neal (COL ’02), chair of GUSA’s Student Health, Safety and Justice Committee.

The campus watch portion of the program divided the campus into three zones, with one pair of students patrolling each zone.

Each pair of students had a flashlight, a walkie-talkie and an access card to gain entry into any building on campus.

In addition, one student in each pair wore a blue vest with reflective yellow borders provided by the office of Student Conduct.

Each pair used their walkie-talkie to check in with the GUSA office every 10 to 15 minutes.

They also reported any incidents occurring on campus which needed DPS intervention.

Unlike the campus walks, which ended at 3 a.m., the campus watch operated until 4 a.m.

The remaining pairs of students waited in the GUSA office and were deployed to escort people when calls came in. Students wishing to be escorted across campus called DPS, who then alerted the GUSA office to deploy a pair of walkers.

The volunteer walkers worked shifts of two to three hours.

“This past weekend was something of a test run,” Klein said.

Neal described the program as “enormously successful.” He said that over the two nights, between 12 and 15 people asked for and received escorts around campus.

In addition, he said that students on campus patrol reported several incidents to the GUSA office, who then reported them to DPS. He said DPS responded to five or six incidents reported by the campus watch during the two nights.

As the result of a meeting on the afternoon on Sept. 16, Director of Student Programs Mary Kay Schneider said that Safewalk would continue to operate on Friday and Saturday nights.

“[There will be an] ongoing evaluation of how long to continue the program,” Schneider said.

SafeWalk volunteers were recruited last Thursday night at The Big Chill open microphone night, at the Leavey Center and at the SAC Fair.

Members of the Unity Coalition have also volunteered members from their clubs as escorts.

The program, however, is open to anyone on campus who would like to be involved.

Students can volunteer by contacting GUSA or the Office of Student Programs.

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