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The Daily Tar Heel

Just walk it out: SafeWalk program will cover holes in student safety

No student should have to walk home alone in the dark if he or she doesn’t feel safe.

Next semester, the executive branch of student government will introduce a new student safety initiative called SafeWalk to help improve campus safety.

It will help fill in the gaps that exist in our late-night transportation services.

SafeWalk aims to provide students with a pair of male and female student walkers to accompany them anywhere on campus or from the main drag on Franklin Street between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

 Students can request walkers online, by phone or at a designated Undergraduate Library computer. One student dispatcher will work in the Undergraduate Library to assign student walkers.

Student government should work to make this program as accessible and simple to use as possible.

The late-night buddy system was modeled after a similar — and very successful — program offered at the University of California-Berkeley.

 The Berkeley program has 30 students on duty per night, but the UNC program will begin with only 7 students. The program will alter the number of students working based on demand.

SafeWalk is currently accepting applications from friendly, interested students.

All walkers will go through Department of Public Safety training to learn what to do in certain situations.

SafeWalk will also be an excellent addition to the late night P2P bus system.

Unfortunately, the P2P is sometimes unreliable and unavailable. Students need other options when the buses are packed or stops aren’t close by. And there are many locations on campus that the P2P doesn’t serve.

Waiting at the bus stop alone isn’t a good idea either.

SafeWalk will ensure that students can request walkers to accompany them to the stop and wait with them until the bus arrives.

It’s just another way for students to stay safe on their way home.

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