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Campus Watch: Keeping students safe

Clocktower.  

Otago Connection

Campus watch tent
Campus Watch staff (from left) Richie Nicolson and John Tili found themselves with plenty to do giving out free popcorn at their stall at tent city during Orientation Week.

The Proctor’s office and Campus Watch play an important role during the academic year, and during Orientation Week, Proctor Simon Thompson says.

Campus Watch – whose staff are distinguished on campus by their blue and gold uniforms – is focused on enhancing the best aspects of student life. They act as a link between students and North Dunedin residents.

“Our prime focus is pastoral – acting as ‘walking information booths’ on a range of issues, mainly associated with the transition from residential colleges to flatting.

“Our assistance might include helping students new to the city to find their way, and learn about their environment; education around rubbish recycling and guidance on running a good but safe party that’s within the law and acceptable to the neighbours.

“Otago’s campus and the concentrated nature of student flats are part of what make Otago unique. Campus Watch aims to maintain and improve the quality of the student experience in the wider campus environment.

“We are here to maintain the safety of the campus area for students and staff, and to assist residents and businesses of North Dunedin with any concerns they may have.”

As well as the popcorn, the stall during Orientation gave away fridge magnets which highlight the Campus Watch 24-hour phone number students can use to obtain assistance and pamphlets on the Campus Watch role. Campus watch staff were also present at Dunedin Airport to welcome students and to help them orientate themselves to where they needed to go.

Also, there is a significant presence of Campus Watch staff in the North Dunedin student area 24 hours-a-day from the beginning of Orientation week to ensure students are safe and University expectations of student behaviour are adhered to.

This includes providing a “safety car" for students in unsafe situations and who need to get to a place of safety, such as their hall or flat. This operates Wednesday – Saturday, 11pm – 3am.

This year for the first time there is a Liquor Ban policy which prohibits the consumption of alcohol on campus grounds.

“We will be active in trying to educate students on the liquor ban,” Mr Thompson says.

“Our main aim is to ensure students are safe in their environment to be able to enjoy themselves, and the great things Otago has to offer both socially and academically.”