Student volunteers to patrol neighborhoods Nov. 17
Nov. 12, 2001
KALAMAZOO -- About 65 Western Michigan University students are expected to serve as additional "eyes and ears" for Kalamazoo police to help maintain order after the home football game with Central Michigan University Saturday, Nov. 17.
The student volunteers are the major component of Peace'N It Together, a nine-year-old initiative of WMU's Division of Student Affairs that has successfully reduced excessive partying in neighborhoods around campus in years when the WMU/CMU game is played in Kalamazoo.
"The vast majority of students care about the community we live in and behave responsibly," says David Lancaster, a senior from Fennville, Mich., and student co-coordinator for the 2001 program, which has "Keeping the Peace" as its theme. "Peace'N It Together doesn't prevent students and others from having a good time. It allows us to play a proactive role in preventing a small minority from engaging in activities that might portray the larger student body in a negative light."
The reason for implementing the peace patrols dates back to 1977 when a student party became unruly. That resulted in WMU administrators and students working with local officials and landlords to promote orderly fall-semester celebrations. Then in 1992, a comprehensive plan was designed and initiated by students in collaboration with campus and community members. Students targeted the CMU football weekend as the most appropriate time to use the patrols.
Patrol volunteers attend training sessions facilitated by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and WMU staff members. They use two-way radios to notify city police of possible problems, but do not attempt to intervene in any situations themselves.
The volunteers will be out in force from 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, to 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, patrolling the Arcadia, Knollwood, Vine and West Main neighborhoods. They will be wearing gray sweatshirts bearing the peace sign, an American flag and the words: "Peace'N It Together 1992-2001."
Several nonstudents will join in the patrol effort, including members of the Knollwood, Vine and West Main neighborhood associations and WMU staff from the Off-Campus Life Office, Division of Student Affairs and Residence Life Office. Additionally, some community members have agreed to allow their homes to be used in conjunction with the patrols.
"This involvement by the students and community reflects the importance of both parties in working together to promote mutual goals," says Robert Miller, WMU associate vice president for community outreach.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org