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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Student Government Association, University Operations team up to cosponsor Fall ‘23 Night Safety Walk

Sienna Wight / Hilltop Views
Erik Villanel with University Operations shines his flashlight at dead bulbs under the St. Andre apartments. This complex was one of the main stops on the walk.

Members of the Student Government Association and University Operations gathered near the seal on Nov. 16 to initiate the biannual Night Safety Walk. Staff from facilities, campus safety and sustainability and several SGA personnel discussed the goal of the walk, the route and the procedure. 

The route started at the seal and covered a large portion of the most-walked areas on campus like Moody Drive and the MaryHill and Hilltopper Heights Apartments. 

During the hour-long walk, participants voice problem areas that they notice across campus. These concerns are recorded by a scribe and loaded into a spreadsheet, which Jim Morris, associate vice president of University Operations, uses to place work orders with facilities and prioritize action items. 

“The way we do it, we have facilities do the walk, we have campus police do the walk, we have campus safety do the work on the staff side,” Morris said. “Sometimes we fix problems on the spot. If it’s a larger issue, we’re not able to solve all the things, but we can at least try and make improvements.”

Feedback came from a variety of voices on the walk, staff members and students alike. Most comments addressed lighting. Accessibility of walkways was also a large focus, with the University Operations scribe noting areas where shrubbery needed to be trimmed back for paths to be used equitably. University Operations also pointed out several newly installed security cameras across campus during the safety walk.

“I definitely have seen a lot of good work being done,” SGA President Ethan Tobias said. “It was nice to see also additional security cameras. That has been an ask from SGA for a good long time.”

The university has been hosting the Night Safety Walks for at least the past six years, although they haven’t always looked the same. 

“We do it in the fall and the spring, not only to have the additional engagement, but also to have a follow up so that in the spring, we can hopefully go back and say, ‘Okay, these are the things we identified in the fall, and it looks like we’ve made progress.’” Morris said.

Roughly 15 students were attendance for this semester’s walk. UPD officer Tillman was present, though it’s usually UPD Chief Homer Huerta. The Director of University operations was also present. (Sienna Wight / Hilltop Views)

Additionally, Morris has noticed a shift in student engagement. 

“The number of students who have participated has really grown,” Morris said. “It used to be maybe you get five students, and I think we had 15 (this semester). It’s actually kind of a fun time for all of us to kind of walk around together and have some of those conversations. It’s not always about safety. It’s just that engagement and being able to talk and enjoy the time together and be outside. The safety part of it (is) really paramount, but being able to have that time together and just network face to face is great.” 

In a newsletter announcing the Fall ‘23 Night Safety Walk, all members of the St. Edward’s community were encouraged to attend the event. According to SGA Senator Luis Rios, the more students in attendance the better. Rios encourages more students to attend future Night Safety Walks.

“It’s good for students to see what’s going on behind the scenes of how we ensure our campus is safe,” Rios said. “Also just encouraging other students to figure out ways (that) we can keep our campus more vibrant and safe for everyone.”

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Sienna Wight, Viewpoints Editor
Sienna is a senior Writing & Rhetoric major with a concentration in creative writing. This is their second year with "Hilltop Views" and third semester as Viewpoints Editor. Previously, they have also worked as a Copy Editor. They are super excited to bring new ideas to "Hilltop Views."

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