Friday, November 13, 2009

Being Smart Around Campus

As a university student I don’t usually look for bed bugs or bogey monsters anymore. But being little more than five foot and if I’m honest not as strong as I’d like to think, it does sometimes occur to me when I’m wandering around by myself in the dark that it might not be the smartest move I’ve ever made. The following three programs are ones that not many students either know about or realise are free to use and in place for you to use just to get rid of those nagging feelings.

Foot Patrol and Safe Walks

I always felt like I wasn’t going far enough for it to be worth calling or that I’d be bothering them. But last year I joined up as a patroller and realised just how wrong I had been. Patrollers aren’t getting paid so you’re not wasting anyone’s money that could have been spent elsewhere and as volunteers they are there because they want to be. Not because they feel the need to defend people from the horrors of campus after dark fall, they sign up because it’ll be a nicer way to get some exercise or volunteer hours then running on a treadmill or cutting grass.

They stay because they find it’s a great way to meet new people and genuinely enjoy doing it. You never have to give anyone your name or identify yourself to the patrollers, even though many will give you their names. The only records kept are of the date and time of the safe walk and the locations. And if you are being dropped off at a house off campus the patrollers only report the street names of an intersection a few blocks away so even the dispatcher can’t discover your address.

Patrollers sign up in advance for a three hour shift so regardless of how many calls they get they’ll still be spending that time walking around campus. And honestly I always found it far more enjoyable on nights with more safe walks rather than just patrolling circles around campus.

Safe walks are available 6 pm-midnight Monday to Friday by calling office at 613-520-4066. If you know you’re going to be leaving at a certain time you can even call to book in advance so you don’t have to wait for the patrol to get there. You can also show up at the office on the fourth floor of the university centre or flag a patrol as they go by (they always wear bright blue vests or navy coats that are clearly labelled so you can recognize them).

Late Night Program

For people who are working alone after normal hours this service is a good way to let someone know where you are, just in case anything should happen. By making Campus Safety aware of your location they are able to check in with you on their rounds throughout the evening. You can also get an emergency assistance button so that you can instantly alert safety if you need to.

Arrange by calling University Safety at 613-520-3612

Rape Aggression Defence Program

Another program run by campus safety, R.A.D. is a women’s only awareness, prevention, risk reduction, risk avoidance program. It also includes an optional basic hands-on physical defence training session. Not only is this a free program, participants are also allowed to attend any future sessions free of charge for refreshers.

Upcoming dates: November 21, February 10, March 20, April 24.

Register online for R.A.D.

I’ll post a larger list of other campus services that are nice to know about in a few days.


Gail Carmichael said...

Great post Katherine. I think it's important to be aware of the services we have, and I like the patroller's perspective on the Foot Patrol thing.

Natalia Villanueva-Rosales said...

Nice post. I have to accept that I've stayed many times after hours in my lab by my self without asking anyone to check on me. This is a very nice reminder, next time I will definitively call them.