A new safe walking program sponsored by Creighton Students Union, Public Safety and the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library began this year.
This new addition, called the Night Owl Program, is a safe walk program that provides students with a safe alternative to walking home alone.
The program aims to encourage students who live in Opus, Davis, Kenefick, Heider or who parked in the Solar Panel Lot to leave the library in a group.
There are two departure times: 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. (closing time) - with an announcement being made 10 minutes before the groups leave. When available, a Public Safety officer joins the group as they walk to their respective locations.
Public Safety senior director Michael Reiner believes that this new program is a great option during the times when JayRide and Public Safety are busiest.
“While Public Safety officers provide hundreds of walking escorts each year, their primary role is to respond to emergent situations, so there are times when officers may already all be dispatched on other responses and not be immediately available to escort individual students,” Reiner said. “By walking with students in groups at predictable times, the officer can efficiently serve more students.”
David Buffington, the library’s evening supervisor and technology specialist and whose voice is heard giving the departure announcement, feels better about seeing students leave from the library late at night.
“This makes students feel safer, especially late at night. Bigger groups walking together, with a Public Safety officer, are a deterrent to troublemakers,” Buffington said. “As the saying goes, there is safety in numbers.”
These numbers tend to fluctuate, with the library seeing a couple students still there at closing one night and as many as 20 another night.
Buffington added that during midterms and finals, the library has had as many as 250 students in the library at 1:00 a.m. It is these late-night studiers that brought the idea for this program to CSU.
“CSU members on the Board of Representatives have the privilege to hear student concerns, bring ideas to the table and implement them,” said Donna Shahbazi, president of CSU. “This program is one of the many that have come to fruition after the work of our representatives. The idea for this program was brought about by the Public Safety Committee, which consisted of Heider College of Business junior Katie Hinz and College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Raeef Rahmann.”
From there, CSU worked closely with Public Safety to bring this program to all students.
Reiner mentioned that he always enjoys working with CSU, citing that collaborations between student organizations such as CSU and Inter Residence Hall Government as one of his favorite aspects of his position in Public Safety.
It is thanks to this collaboration between the three organizations that Creighton is able to add another layer of protection for the campus community.