Walk Safe programs on campus can drastically improve in school safety for your students. Many schools maintain some form of Walk Safe program; Harvard University being a good example of a school that has implemented an exemplary walk safe program. These programs allow any student, staff member or campus visitor to contact a program volunteer or security officer who will escort them to their vehicle, class, residence, or any other place on campus.
While campus security can help manage these programs, many of them are in fact run by student and staff volunteers. For example, Guelph University’s campus Safe Walk services allows students to sign up to volunteer through its website. The fact that many of these Walk Safe programs are staffed exclusively by volunteers from the campus community, ensures that they will be extremely sensitive to the needs of both students and staff. McGill’s Walk Safe service is a good example of a volunteer-staffed program that caters directly to the needs of students and staff. McGill’s Walk Safe program pledges that if a female student or staff member need assistance they they will do their best to dispatch a female volunteer. By sending volunteers who are of the same gender, McGill’s Walk Safe program can efficiently address gender-specific issues a student may experience on campus, such as domestic abuse.
While these Walk Safe programs can dramatically help improve campus safety there are areas where these programs could be improved. One example of how Safe-Walk programs can improve their efficiency, is by increasing the number hours which these programs operate. For example, some Walk Safe programs do not operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and end slightly after midnight. Other Safe Walk services do not operate during exam periods and over summer semesters. The main reason often cited for this lack of service is that the student volunteers are unable to commit to unpaid work during these off-hours. However, the problem with this is that emergencies can always occur regardless of the time of day or year. As a safety audit by York University asserts, a university campus can be dangerous at very late hours such as after campus pub nights or parties.
To address this problem, some universities such as the University of Calgary have implemented a 24 hour walk-safe program, while others, such as Queens provide security officers to escort students during a Walk Safe programs off hours. Both of these schools set great examples of how all Walk Safe programs should be structured. Walk Safe programs need both significant amount of funding and student interest in order to function effectively.
Another problem with many campus Walk Safe programs is that they are often underutilized by the student body. Specifically awareness of these Walk Safe programs are limited on many university campuses. In the safety audit conducted by York University only 60% of students and staff were aware of their Walk Safe program. That number is quite low, considering the value of this possibly life-saving service which clearly helps maintain and improve in school safety . Thus, Safe Walk services need to be more vigorously promoted within the student body.
There are many different strategies that can be used to promote a school’s Walk Safe program. Having an informative website to both promote and provide information about your schools Safe Walk services should be considered essential. For example, the Walk Safe program for Colorado State University provides students with a schedule with hours they can be escorted, relevant contact information and a map with the boundaries where the Safe-walk program operates. While, having a website is extremely important in keeping students up to date on a schools Safe Walk services, maintaining a presence on social media could also significantly help your school build awareness of it Walk Safe program. This is because the usage of social media among college students is very high and therefore building a relationships with students on web properties which they frequently use can significantly help promote your Safe Walk services. Likewise, the University of Minnesota Duluth uses this social media strategy, which should be mimicked by other campuses and has a Walk Safe program Facebook group which they use to communicate with the student body.
Besides the minimal awareness issues of Walk Safe programs among students and lack availability of Safe Walk volunteers, a serious problem with most Walk Safe programs is the relatively outdated communication technologies used by students and Walk Safe program staff. Specifically, students or staff, who need to use these Walk Safe programs, can generally contact a program volunteer through a campus emergency phone, pay phone or in some cases even their own mobile phone. Breakthroughs in mobile related technologies such as location-based GPS features and instant messaging can be used by Safe Walk Programs to foster in school safety.
Despite the different areas where is definitely room for improvement, Walk-Safe programs are one of the most important tools that can be used to improve and maintain a safe campus.
- Desire2Learn selects Guardly to provide safety module for Campus Life™, servicing higher education, K-12 schools and corporate sectors
- OCAD U rolls out Guardly campus safety app as new school term begins
- Customer Study Finds Emergency Response Times Cut in Half When Using Guardly Safe Campus™ to Report and Manage Incidents at University
- Keeping Safe at School: Services for Students with Disablities
- 25 Measures to Improve College Security
Guardly provides mobile safety solutions for reporting and managing enterprise and public safety emergencies.Our safety apps act as personal emergency phones that transmit real-time indoor/GPS location, and provides two-way communication with private security, 911 authorities and safety groups using our real-time platform for emergency incident monitoring, management, communication and response.
- Read our customer campus safety study showing how Guardly helped improve emergency response times by 44% at a school.
Curious? Ask for a 15-minute Demo!
- Daily Planet Future Tech features Guardly Indoor Positioning System
- Vendor System Integrations Accelerate in the Safety and Security Industry
- Guardly Integrates with PPM 2000 to Drive Incident Management Efficiencies
- Guardly Selects Seevid as Sales Partner to Expand Distribution in Western US
- Emergency Medical Response: Plans & Technology Save Lives
- Buzz & Press
- Campus Safety
- Community & Partners
- Conferences & Events
- Contests & Promotions
- Corporate Security
- Domestic Violence
- Guardly Features
- Home Safety
- Industry Trends
- Inside Guardly
- Press Releases
- Public Safety
- Public Safety & Security Updates
- Senior Safety
- Use Cases
- Workplace Safety