SURE Walk moves headquarters to Perry-Castañeda Library for increased accessibility

Bobby Blanchard

SURE Walk, a free Student Government service that aims to protect students walking during late hours, moved its headquarters to the Perry-Castañeda Library in hopes of better serving students and increasing its visibility.

The agency provides volunteers to escort students, faculty and staff walking to or from campus between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. A male and a female volunteer from trusted student organizations provide the walks.

“Our goal is no one walks alone at night,” SURE Walk director Ben Johnson said. “It’s about creating a movement of students helping students.”

Johnson said the agency decided to move to a visible location at the entrance of the PCL after it saw increased foot traffic when it started operating on a 24/5 schedule in October. Travis Willmann, spokesperson for the PCL, said the library saw an 11.8 percent increase from 223,115 visitors in October last year to 249,585 visitors in October this year.

“We have a lot of freshmen incoming that weren’t used to using the library in high school to study, and it may have taken all this publicity with 24/5 to make students realize this was a place where they could come and do a lot of studying,” Willmann said.

Normally, Willmann said, visits to the PCL usually increase 1-4 percent annually. Because PCL was 24/5 for only half of October, Willmann said he expects visits to increase between 20 and 25 percent in November.

Johnson said because of this increase in foot traffic at the PCL, he hopes more students will learn about SURE Walk.

“The goal is for more students to see SURE Walk when they leave the library,” Johnson said. “A lot of students have approached the desk.”

Last year, SURE Walk was located in the Student Activity Center and before that it was in the Flawn Academic Center. Johnson said a lot of people did not see or hear about SURE Walk in these locations so they did not know what it was.

“Our biggest hope is people will find out what SURE Walk is,” Johnson said. “We’ve been doing a big publicity push this semester.”

Johnson said SURE Walk averages five requests a night, but he hopes to increase to 10 or 12 each night next semester. He said since moving to the PCL, the agency has seen a small increase in number of walks requested.

Wills Brown, vice president of UT’s Student Government, said SURE Walk will stay in the PCL next semester, when the library will no longer be 24/5, until mid-semester. Brown said SURE Walk stops working at 2 a.m., the time the library normally closes before 24/5 starts again.

Printed on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 as: SURE Walk moves headquarters to PCL