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Sub Board I Inc. program offers safety walks for UB students

Safety walks help students feel more secure walking around campus at night

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Like many students, Katie Nigrelli finds herself working in the library until late at night.

Now when she walks back to her dorm, she doesn’t have to walk alone.

Students can be accompanied on their late-night walks home and to their cars by volunteers through Sub Board I (SBI) Inc.’s safety walk station.

“The buses are very scarce, so I usually just walk. It’s nice that I don’t have to walk alone though,” said Nigrelli, a sophomore accounting major.

Nigrelli said that although North Campus is safe, she still feels “much more secure” walking with two other students from the safety service.

Safety escorts are required to ask everyone who leaves the library if they would like to take advantage of the safety walk. Escorts wear a vibrant colored vest and carry a flashlight and a walkie-talkie. They must carry a phone and two volunteer escorts must assist the student on the walk.

The program runs Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. until midnight at Lockwood Library, which is now UB’s only 24-hour library.

SBI also provides safety shuttles on South Campus every night from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Last year, the safety service provided 600 safety walks and over 14,000 rides in the shuttles, according to Jason Kunzmann, a junior business administration major and Safety Services supervisor.

The safety walk escorts are either student volunteers or students performing community service. In addition to the walkers, there are also paid student supervisory positions. Nightly coordinators, walk station supervisors and safety shuttle supervisors all receive bi-weekly stipends, according to Jane Fischer, director of SBI Health Education.

The Safety Services supervisors and shuttle drivers are also paid hourly positions.

The program began in 1975 as a group started by female students who were concerned about rape and sexual assault on campus, according to Fischer. The group started the Anti-Rape Task Force (ARTF).

In 1978, male volunteers began to join the ARTF and the Student Association recognized ARTF and providedfunding for the shuttles on South Campus.

In 2009, SBI took over and provided a new name for the service.

Amanda Nubelo, a sophomore biological sciences major, is the president of the Archery club. She volunteers as a safety escort to receive community service hours to complete SA requirements for her club.

Nueblo said that the walks are useful in preventing dangerous situations.

“There’s a huge issue on campuses with assault,” Nueblo said. “It’s just a good way to help.”

Joshua Sticht, deputy chief of University Police, said UB students shouldn’t worry about their safety on campus, but does advise students to always walk with a partner, even if it is not with a safety escort. If students choose not to, he said UB police is always willing to assist students who feel unsafe.

“I would advise anyone traveling at night to use common sense and listen to their instincts. If something feels suspicious, report it to us right away,” Sticht said. “Walking in groups is always safer.”

Volunteers must go though an informational session before being able to escort students on nightly walks.

“I actually feel pretty safe here,” said Taryn Rutka, a junior biomedical sciences and English major. “I know there’s all those signs saying ‘Don’t leave your computer [alone],’ but if I have to go to the bathroom, I’ve never had anyone steal my things.”

Students can feel safe in the company of others on those long walks home in the dark – something to remember for the coming weeks leading up to finals.

Marissa Fielding is a staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com


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