URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students, police from local agencies and other campus administrators on Wednesday knocked on thousands of doors in the university district to talk to students about their safety.
The Walk As One event is an annual canvass of the campus area to reach out to students and introduce them to safety resources. In particular, walkers reminded students about the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol – as well as local laws and university policies regarding its use and misuse – as Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day approaches.
The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District provided buses to help transport participants to various parts of the university district.
Students were also reminded of medical amnesty, which is a state law and university procedure which protects students who call 911 to help themselves or someone else from facing legal or academic consequences.
“We’re here to help people, not punish,” said U. of I. Interim Police Chief Matt Myrick. “We really just want students to call 911 if they need help and not have to worry about getting in trouble if they have been drinking underage.”
Although activity around Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day has been declining in recent years, the annual event which is not sanctioned or supported by the university continues to present significant dangers for those who participate to an extreme. Police, students and campus units used the Walk As One event as a collaborative opportunity to remind students about those dangers, and to introduce themselves as a resource should they need help in any way.
“We don’t have a problem with students enjoying their free time when it’s done in a safe, healthy way,” Myrick said. “But we don’t want it taken to an extreme where students are putting themselves or others at risk, and we want to be there as a resource for anyone who needs help.”