RU and Radford City collaborate on safety initiative
As the sun set on Radford University on Oct. 21, streams of light filled the city's streets and the campus' pathways as a bundled up group gathered to raise safety awareness.
Equipped with flashlights and clipboards, about two dozen RU students, administrators, staff and Radford City officials participated in the second annual Campus Safety Walk.
Similar nighttime walks are held on college campuses nationwide to give participants an opportunity to examine potential safety issues and provide input on future safety initiatives.
"Our main goal tonight is to make sure points of contention are highlighted and make recommendations about improvements," said Student Government Association President Colby Bender.
The SGA held a similar walk last year, Bender added, but they decided to expand this year's event beyond campus borders, recognizing that a majority of the student body commute from off-campus locations.
The experience helps those who don't travel the to-and-from-campus route regularly, see the path from a different perspective, said Dean of Students and SGA Adviser Irvin Clark.
"We are seeing the walk through the students' lenses," Clark said. "And their perspective is essential for us to see."
Joining Clark on the pre-planned route through on- and off-campus sites were RU Board of Visitor member Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham, Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Shanley, City of Radford Mayor Bruce Brown, Manager David Ridpath and Chief of Police Don Goodman '84.
Throughout the tour, the group noted and addressed benefits of additional lighting, (on and off campus), signage (such as crosswalks and stop signs), and additional emergency phones, which are placed by RU police throughout campus.
Emphasizing the walk as a proactive, rather than a reactive, response to student safety, Shanley urged participants to take action on concerns they might observe, such as an unlit street lamp.
"If you see it, report it," Shanley said.
Toward the end of the off-campus portion of the route, city officials and campus representatives huddled to reflect on the collaborative initiative.
"Safety is our No. 1 priority," Ridpath said. "And we look forward to working with Radford University to continue to make our community a safe place for everyone."