Unicare to reintroduce escort service for students

The UCD security service Unicare has recently re-established a student escort service for students who have to walk home at night.Unicare was set up in 1998 to promote the safety of students on university campuses. The student night escort service was finished in 2006, but UCDSU Welfare Vice-President Scott Ahearn believes the necessity for it still exists: “There is more emphasis on it now this year to bring it back up again and myself and the SU, we’re working with Unicare to help promote it.”The objective of the service is that students who must walk across the campus after hours can dial 7999 (the UCD emergency number) and request an escort from Pulse Security or a duty manager to walk with them to their destination.The increase of petty crime in recent years has driven the reintroduction of the programme: “It may not have a huge uptake but I think it’s so critical just to have it there as a service.” Ahearn stated.Additionally, in October 2009, Unicare launched the In Case of Emergency (ICE) card campaign to UCD. These ICE cards are designed to provide the numbers of family members of victims in the care first response services, as well as providing medical staff with the patients’ medical records and to also serve as a general form of ID for students.Ahearn feels that it is necessary to promote the service in the run-up to exams: “Especially now coming into November, the library’s going to be open until midnight. Students finishing studying in the library might feel a little bit intimidated, might not feel safe walking back to their car. It could be at the far end of campus, [so] they might have to get a bus.”The service is also available to students after nights out: “Even in reverse, a student coming back from a night out, they might be getting out of a taxi at the bridge fly over. [They might] want to walk back to Roebuck or something [and they might feel a] little bit doubtful sometimes late at night.”The escort service on campus is currently up and running and is available to students from 7pm to 4am for seven days a week. Ahearn emphasised that safety on campus, especially in the winter months, is something that should not be overlooked: “Something I take very seriously is personal safety for students and I think that it’s something which should be encouraged.”