NITE searches for dangers in the dark

On the first cool evening of the fall, about 80 students and administrators gathered for a walk. They weren’t walking in celebration of the cool weather but to improve safety and security at USF.

For the second time this year, the student group Necessary Improvements to Transform our Environment (NITE) organized a campus walk to find areas lacking in campus safety and security. Items such as lighting, blue lights, missing sidewalks, broken lights, or signs and anything else that could be a threat to students’ safety were reviewed.

“The purpose of this second walk is to follow up on our last walk that we did last spring,” Carissa Caricato, president of NITE, said. “A lot has been done in regards to campus safety, but much more attention is needed in the matter.”

Caricato said Physical Plant would fix anything broken within 24 hours of a submitted request. The details will be reported to the administration to request funds for more campus safety. The results of the walk will be ready today.

Participating in the walk were members of Student Government, University Police (UP) representative Sergeant Charlotte Dominguez, the USF Advocacy program and other administrators including Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Kevin Banks.

“I’ve worked with NITE on several occasions, including Take Back the Night,” Dominguez said. “Anytime we see students being proactive about their own safety we support that.”

Banks is a second-time NITE walker and stressed the importance for student and faculty participation in events such as the NITE walk.

“It’s very important for me to come out,” Banks said. “I was so impressed with the first walk. We talk about UP being the primary entity for safety, but we’re all partners in ensuring safety on campus. I’d like to see some faculty out here, too.”

Sophomore Morgan Mathias was one of the many students who geared up for the walk and enjoyed the free pizza. She said the last NITE walk made many improvements to make her feel safer.

“I feel like we’re going in the right direction,” Mathias said. “We have more blue lights, better lit areas and I don’t feel as scared on campus anymore.”

Morgan Huettel, Director of Special Programs with Student Government, explained why the NITE walks are so important.

“It’s an open campus, which I think is a concern. If someone’s not looking out, especially at night, anything can happen,” he said.

NITE is a student activist group that seeks to advocate continuous campus safety and student health. Its Web site says it “aim(s) to educate USF students about beneficial resources provided to them by the University and work with other campus organizations to make improvements to the environment of the entire USF community.”

“Basically, we want administration to know that students care about this very important issue, and safety should be a No. 1 goal on this campus” said Caricato.