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Students, TUPD team up to host Safety Awareness Week

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 03:02

Sophomore Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senator Darien Headen and student−TUPD liaison sophomore Becky Goldberg, along with the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD), will host their first Safety Awareness Week starting today in the hopes of bolstering campus welfare after recent incidents concerning pedestrian safety.

The event, sponsored by TUPD and the TCU Senate, will offer various awareness activities throughout the week around the Mayer Campus Center, according to Goldberg and Headen.

Sgt. Duane Weisse, who is responsible for TUPD’s involvement in the project, explained that Goldberg and Headen, along with Director of Public and Environmental Safety Kevin Maguire, first approached him in December following an incident where a student was struck by a motor vehicle at the intersection of Packard Avenue and Powderhouse Boulevard.

“We had a meeting and put together what we thought would be appropriate for pedestrian safety,” Weisse said.

Goldberg, who was recently elected to the TCU Judiciary, said that she, Headen and TUPD officers plan to set up a table on the second floor of the Campus Center throughout the week to give away reflectors that make pedestrians more visible. According to Weisse, the reflectors also function as flashlights and bear the words “Be Safe, Be Aware” and the TUPD emblem.

“If there’s poor lighting, or even if there’s good lighting, cars can’t necessarily see you,” Goldberg explained. “Hopefully students will just snap it onto their backpack or coat pocket or something. It’d be really helpful [for students to be seen], especially in the inclement weather.”

There is also a bulletin board in the Campus Center titled, “What makes you feel unsafe?” where students can add their opinions, Goldberg said.

Headen and Goldberg said they are also launching a photo campaign this week in the Campus Center, for which members of a campus group can create a poster with a phrase, such as “I’m careful about my safety because...,” and fill in their opinions. Members can either send in a picture of themselves holding the poster or come to the Campus Center to get their picture taken.

Headen and Goldberg have already received interest in the campaign from the Office for Campus Life, the men’s basketball team, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Tufts University Pre−Veterinary Society and Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS), Weisse said.

Headen, a member of the TCU Senate Services Committee who helped write a recently approved resolution to improve on−campus safety, hopes the visual campaign will make an impact on campus life and spread the message of taking safety precautions.

“We want to post those pictures around, and hopefully we can start a trend,” Headen said. “This can be something that happens each year. These sort of pictures can be shown in some sort of publication or something like that so the campus thinks, ‘I know him and he cares about his safety. Maybe I should care about my safety too.’”

Weisse echoed Headen’s desire for the creation of an annual Safety Awareness Week.

“We want to make it an annual event if we can because it’s not a one−time thing to think about your safety,” Weisse said. “It’s an ongoing process.”

Additionally, Weisse said Fire Marshal and Fire Prevention Officer John Walsh has arranged for therapy dogs to visit the Campus Center on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Sgt. Darren Weisse, who manages the university’s Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Systems, will host a table along with TEMS to answer questions about both programs. On Friday, students can opt to take a picture with a TUPD officer

Headen hopes the week−long event will improve communication between officers and students.

“It just shows the campus that they’re not the big bad guys wanting to bust your party,” he explained. “They’re actually nice people who really care about the students and really care about our safety.”

Both Headen and Goldberg hope that by holding Safety Awareness Week during the winter, they can address weather−related safety issues and keep pedestrian awareness fresh in students’ minds long after orientation week.

“The winter is really important, not only because of the inclement weather, but I think after the first semester sometimes people come back and they feel invincible,” Headen said.

Goldberg and Headen decided to join with TUPD because they were happy with changes the department had made to improve safety in the past few years. Both students pointed to several changes TUPD has made to improve pedestrian safety, such as increasing visibility by cutting down trees, clearing parking and adding traffic−slowing equiment at the intersection of Professors Row and Packard Avenue. Goldberg has also worked closely with officers to improve the blue−light phone and panic button system by developing a texting network and an app, she said.

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