Every year, students at the University of Central Arkansas have the opportunity to learn a thing or two about safety before they hit the road for spring break.
Due to collaboration between the University of Central Arkansas Police Department, the UCA Office of Student Wellness and Development and the UCA Counseling Center, this year’s week-long Safe Spring Break Week will prepare the campus community in topics relating to water safety, self defense, domestic violence — just to name a few.
“Each year[,] the [different departments partner] to provide programming relating to issues that students may encounter during their spring break holiday,” UCAPD’s Michael Hopper told the Log Cabin Democrat.
He said topics are discussed between the three departments and events are then decided on; the programming offered does change from year to year, which is why some events, like the Fatal Vision course — i.e. the drunk-goggles lesson — will be missing this year.
“From what I have observed, the students enjoy and are very receptive to programming we have offered,” Hopper said. “Most of the events are well attended.”
The idea behind the week, he said, is to promote safety and risk reduction.
“We want to make students aware that, while they are having fun at whatever this spring break destination may be, they still need to be aware of their surroundings and make good decisions,” Hopper said.
By Tuesday, water had been covered — the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission came out and set up in front of the student center to talk — and students even had the chance to get their vehicle inspected by Thomas Lee with Pro Auto Conway in front of Snow Fine Arts.
UCAPD’s Sgt. Sarah Garrett, with the department’s community outreach program, told the LCD on Tuesday that Lee was checking oil levels, tire pressure, looking at tread, antifreeze, transmission fluid and other safety-related areas on the cars.
“Just the basic vehicle check so that kids know before they leave for spring break if they’re vehicles are safe,” she said.
The LCD talked to Garrett around 1 p.m. She said the rain put a damper on the event — last year they saw around 75-80 students come by — meaning they had only checked a couple of vehicles by that time.
During the conversation, though, another pulled up.
Lee was able to check everything and even had the college student pop her trunk so he could look at her spare tire.
“This is just one of the activities that we’re doing this week,” Garrett said. “This event is obviously to make sure their vehicles are safe.”
The week started on Monday, will continue on to also include a safety fair, self-defense classes and the Clothesline Project on Thursday in the UCA Student Center Amphitheatre, ending the informative week.
“We’re trying to do lots of events and make sure our students are safe no matter whether they drive or travel or if they stay close to home, that they’re safe during spring break,” Garrett said.
Lee said several of Pro Auto Conway’s employees have students who attend the university and the business was eager to lend a hand Tuesday.
He said they’re always willing to help out, from towing students cars if needed to airing up flats to coming out and doing the vehicle inspection with UCA — which Lee said was a small, but important activity.
“It’s the difference between driving around town, making it where you’re going or just going home,” he said. “I mean, you want to go home or you want to be on the side of the road.”