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Cougar culture connects
Various resources help community maintain safety
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010
By WSU News Service
PULLMAN - As much as he appreciates the various publications that consistently rank WSU among the safest campuses in the nation, Dean of Students Chris Wuthrich hopes such publicity won’t prompt the WSU community to grow complacent.
That’s because, despite the rural location of WSU’s main Pullman campus, Wuthrich believes the relatively positive safety record has more to do with Cougar community than geography.
“What traditionally sets us apart from many other universities is really our culture," he said. "Our students tend to feel a mutual connection to community, and I think it encourages them to look out for one another.”
In an effort to help WSU community members look out for their own and others' well-being, Wuthrich’s office maintains the WSU Aware Network. It offers a variety of emergency contact and resource information. Using the site, students, faculty and staff can access everything from campus safety guides to contact numbers for campus police, medical assistance and counseling services.
It also includes information on recognizing behavioral signs of mental and emotional stress, as well as how to seek intervention on behalf of someone who may be experiencing a crisis.
The Associated Students of WSU also manages several programs to help ensure student safety on campus.
For example, the Women’s Transit program, which is a sexual assault reduction effort, provides rides to women who would otherwise be walking alone on campus, said Josh Hart, ASWSU director of Student Life. It operates 6 p.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday and 6 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
A similar program called SafeWalk, which runs 9 p.m.-midnight Thursday and 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, provides students with pedestrian escorts to and from campus and nearby areas, including College Hill. SafeWalk relies on volunteer students who can sign up for entire shifts or hourly blocks.
Student volunteers also can contribute to maintaining a safe campus by joining Cougar Security. Created to assist the WSU Police in assuring the nighttime safety of individuals and property on campus, Cougar Security provides walking/bike corridor and building patrols and escorts during hours of darkness. Applications are available online at http://cougarsecurity.wsu.edu.
WSU recently was listed as the safest school in the Pac-10 by the news website, the Daily Beast. The listing followed a report by State University.com ranking WSU as the safest campus in the state.