Ohio State Program Helps Keep Students Safe

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At a school bigger than some cities, students are always encouraged to travel in groups. But that’s not always possible.

That’s where Ohio State’s Student Safety Services comes in.

Two vehicles driven by two-person crews shuttle students around campus upon request, until 3 a.m.

“Basically, at the beginning of each shift, we go around each vehicle to make sure lights are working, flashers, alley lights,” said Kelsey Meyers, the Student Safety Services manager.

Meyers said that big campuses can be frightening for some.

“I know with being on such a large campus, it can intimidate some students, especially some who are not used to the Columbus area,” Meyers said.

The Student Safety Services crews take students, faculty and staff to and from any location – on or off campus – within specific boundaries, free of charge.

Assignments come from a dispatcher inside the Ohio State University police complex.

The drivers aim to do a pickup every 10 minutes.

Christina Castillo said she uses the service often.

“If I’m out walking around with my friends and I feel unsafe, even though I’m going a very short distance, and I don’t want to call a taxi, Student Safety has always been there to help,” Castillo said.

The Student Safety Services averages 100 pickups each night.

The service is more than a shuttle, though. It’s extra eyes and ears for campus police.

There’s a crime alert board on a wall inside the dispatch center.

“They can look at this board, see the different trends going on around campus,” said Sean Bolender, the program coordinator for Ohio State’s Student Safety Services. “It shows them where they can drive around when they’re not picking up kids and deter some criminal activity.”

The experience also improves the student safety escorts’ chances of landing jobs in law enforcement once they graduate.

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