Oregon State University's SafeRide provides a safer campus for s - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon State University's SafeRide provides a safer campus for students

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Each evening at 5:30 p.m. on the dot, the phones calls and app alerts start coming in to Oregon State University’s SafeRide dispatch center. Then drivers and navigators on duty grab their radios, tablets and head out the door on a mission to make campus and students a little more safe. 

“It’s very rewarding,” said student SafeRide employee Amanda Serven. “You never want anybody to feel like they’re in a situation where they’re unsafe, and I think just knowing that they have a safe way home gives people that peace of mind."

The university employs 65 students that operate as dispatchers, driver and navigators for the program allowing OSU students a safe ride coming or going to campus or back home.

SafeRide is funded through the college’s student union. Program Manager Mackenzie Zathan said students pay roughly $10 a year for SafeRide as part of their student fees. Then students can use the service unlimited for free when its staffed daily between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. 

Those behind the wheel said the job is so important. It’s more meaningful too, they say, after tragedy strikes — no matter how far away. 

“Our hearts definitely go out to the families and communities that knew Haruka,” Zathan said. "For me personally, it means I have to work harder to keep our students safe.”

Portland native Haruka Weiser’s body was found in a creek near the University of Texas’ Austin campus Tuesday, two days after she went missing. 

Austin police charged 17-year-old Meechaiel Criner with murder Friday morning. 

Like many colleges around the nation, OSU also expressed sorrow in Weiser’s tragic death. 

The university urges students to use campus safety resources like personal escorts, blue-lit emergency phones and SafeRide. 

Everyone would like to think these services would never be needed, but OSU students said that’s never the case. 

“I know people who have been sexually assaulted -- I’ve been part of those experiences,” Zathan said. "And there was just an incident recently when a student was mugged on campus.”

Still, student drivers are making a difference. Last year the service was used 45,000 times.

Zathan said SafeRide is expected to smash that record this year. 

To learn more about SafeRide visit: http://asosu.oregonstate.edu/saferide

OSU says students should also always let know friends where they’re going and when they’ll expect to arrive and be back. Students should try to walk in pairs or in groups and choose well-lit paths while being aware and vigilant of their surroundings.

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