Campus Safety Walk starts campus safety conversation

Photo by Sho Kitamura

On Nov. 6, SGA hosted its annual Campus Safety Walk to address safety concerns around campus. Every year, SGA brings together staff from Facilities, GTPD and other campus organizations and divisions to discuss concerns with potential safety issues on campus.

“Campus Safety Walk is an event to help facilities and administration identify safety concerns, along with the student. The students can also have discussion with them directly, and administrators actually take serious action when the walk is done. It’s a great way to make them aware of what the students think,” said Pragya Saboo, Chair of Planning and Capital Development Committee at Tech.

During the Safety Walk, different students and staff members focused on tangible and visible threats to campus safety including malfunctioning street lights, emergency blue light phones, signs with scraped off letters and pathways or sidewalks for walking around campus.

“I think what’s really great about this is that we have all of these different departments here at once, and we can raise up different problems,” said Lucy Tucker, Executive Vice President of SGA. “It kind of falls to whoever is responsible, and then the students can discuss it as well and collaborate in terms of solving campus issues.”

The Campus Safety Walk, however, tends to focus solely on issues seen along the walk’s route, not on other campus crime concerns, such as theft of property from dorms and in campus buildings.

One common point of concern during the walk was the number of unlit streetlights around campus and the lack of streetlights in areas where students typically walk. During the event, Saboo addressed areas around the Burger Bowl.

“This part of West seems to be pretty dark and even with the Burger Bowl, it is not very well lit,” Saboo said. “At night there are a lot of students playing and typically a number of people want to cross the fields or street to go back to their dorms. It belongs to the city and I know we can’t do much about it, but I actually wondered if we could install more lights around it.”

Some walkways and sidewalks, such as those around Ferst Dr., were broken and uneven from tree roots. Discussion also touched on the “Short Cuts Cause Ruts” signs, and whether additional pathways should be constructed in those areas.

“There’s really only one way to get into the Burger Bowl, and some students actually walk onto the field from paths down the hill,” said Madhukar Mayakonda, a first-year EE major. “I just thought it would be useful to have stairs that could actually extend from the sidewalks down to the Burger Bowl.”

Vandalism on campus signs was pointed out, as well.

“The tradition of stealing the T’s is one thing, but scraping T’s and other letters off of signs is vandalism. It takes money, which could have been directed to students, to replace the letters scraped off,” said President B.P. “Bud” Peterson. “We’ve seen a lot of progress with our saving the T campaign, and with much of student support, things are getting better.”

Saboo believes that SGA’s Campus Safety walk is a great way for students to reach out to faculty and staff over safety concerns over how faculty can accommodate to what students need to have a safer experience at Tech.

“We really want students to interact differently with administrators so that they get the chance to have that discussion,” Saboo said. “It’s different because administrators usually walk during the day while students walk around twenty four seven, so it’s a good chance for students to show concerns.”