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January 16, 2009
By Skyler Dillon
As spring semester classes begin, University of Nevada, Reno students have a new and improved Campus Escort Service to help them navigate the 290-acre campus safely after dark. Thanks to a grant from Reno’s Ward Five Old Northwest Neighborhood Advisory Board, escort workers are now equipped with 40 reflective jackets to assist in their mission of providing “safe, efficient, courteous and reliable escorts for the University’s students, staff, faculty and visitors.”
The $1,820 grant to fund the new equipment is part of the Community Pride Grant program, initiated in 1998 by the Reno City Council. Each of Reno’s eight neighborhood advisory boards is given a per capita-based allotment of money to dispense for community projects every fiscal year. The Campus Escort Service is a top priority for the Ward Five Old Northwest board, and Campus Escort Coordinator Monica Thompson said she is gratified that, as she puts it, “our community supports this program, too.”
“The jackets have already been purchased, and the staff is very grateful…and warm,” she added.
Improvements haven’t just been made for escorts working on foot; Campus Escort is also equipped with two brand new escort vehicles as well. The University’s Parents Fund, sustained by contributions from University students’ parents, helped in purchasing a new van for the program. Campus Escort is purchasing an additional van that will be converted to be accessible to wheelchair bound students and faculty with funds provided by the E.L. Cord and Marshall R. Matley Foundations. Both vans are 2009 Dodge Grand Caravans and will be equipped with digital radios and the campus escort logo. The new equipment will allow both the employees and the students they escort to make safer trips through the University campus.
The service resumes its regular hours for the spring semester on January 20 after being closed for the winter break: Sunday-Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 5 p.m.-3 a.m. When Daylight Savings Time resumes March 8, 2009, the service will be available beginning at 7 p.m. daily. Campus Escort has more than 30 trained student employees who each academic year complete nearly 30,000 escort assignments, either by car or on foot.
As students arrive back in the dorms, Campus Escort officials remind them of the following basic safety measures to protect themselves: