By Kayla Lemay
In light of the recent safety concerns brought up across campus, the Student Government Association (SGA) on Bridgewater State University’s campus held a Safety Walk on Wednesday, Nov. 19.
Anthony Hebert, SGA Vice President, a junior majoring in Political Science, invited a group of campus leaders from organizations such as Program Council, the Residence Hall Association, the National Panhellenic Association, which is the governing board for sororities, as well as members of SGA. The group met on Nov. 19 at 9:30 p.m. outside of the Office of Student Involvement in Leadership in the Rondileau Campus Center, and were split into two groups from there: one to cover the East side of campus, and the other to cover the West Side.
Participants were given a pad of paper and a pen to notate anything that looked dangerous. Hebert led one group across East campus, while Brittany Churchill, a sophomore majoring in Psychology and the Secretary of SGA, led the other through West campus.
“We found over dozen street lights that were not working,” said Hebert. “campus on the night of the November 19th. We found this to be the most severe issue that should be addressed by the University as quickly as possible.”
The group also concluded that most students, if any at all, are not sure how the “blue boxes” work. The boxes with the blue lights above them are meant to be used in an emergency. “Once we have the all the necessary information on how they function, we will work to relay that information to the student body to ensure everyone will know to do in the case of an emergency,” said Hebert.
As for how the idea came to be, Churchill said that it was inspired by the new President of BSU, Fred Clark, in addition to a task force manned by Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Pina, as well as Hebert’s initiative. “[Clark] mentioned safety as a priority during his open forums and discussions with students, so even though he’s up at the top, he wants to be involved,” she said.
Hebert does not plan to let the cold night these students spent outside go to waste. “The SGA will aggressively pursue the changes we outline in our findings. We will ask the University to implement the changes and include campus police and facilities in our discussions,” he said.
Hebert also mentioned plans to meet with both Pina and Clark regarding the findings, in the hopes that campus safety will be addressed quickly and thoroughly.
There are plans to make this safety walk into a regular occurrence. “The SGA does plan on having this walk every semester which will include members of the student government but also a variety of other student leaders like we had on this walk to make sure as many students as possible can contribute their thoughts,” said Hebert.
“It was wonderful to see the responsiveness of students willing to walk around in the cold for an hour in the dark,” said Churchill.
Hebert added, “No student should ever feel unsafe walking around campus at night, and any steps that can be taken to improve safety conditions should done so immediately.”
Kayla Lemay is the Editor-in-Chief of The Comment. Follow her on Twitter at @klemay123.