WMU News

Student volunteers to patrol neighborhoods near campus Oct. 2

Sept. 28, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- About 65 Western Michigan University students are expected to serve as additional "eyes and ears" for Kalamazoo police to help maintain order after the football game with Central Michigan University Saturday, Oct. 2, at Waldo Stadium.

The student volunteers are the major component of Peace'N It Together, an initiative of WMU's Division of Student Affairs that has successfully helped reduce excessive partying in neighborhoods around campus in years when the WMU/CMU game is played in Kalamazoo.

"As students, we care about the community we live in and want to help out," says Laura Knauff, a senior from Charlotte who is student coordinator for the program. "The Peace'N It Together program is a way for us to play a proactive role. This year's theme, 'Reputation and Pride,' is especially fitting because we haven't had any major problems with rowdiness since we began our peace patrols."

Bonnie L. Hanson, of the Off-Campus Life Office at WMU, is the Peace'N It Together Committee chairperson. She says the reason for implementing the patrols dates back to 1977 when a student party became unruly. In subsequent years, WMU administrators and students worked with local officials and landlords to promote orderly fall celebrations.

Then in 1992, a comprehensive plan was designed and initiated by students in collaboration with campus and community members. Hanson said students targeted the CMU football weekend as the most appropriate time to use peace patrols.

Patrol volunteers attend training sessions facilitated by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and WMU staff members. They use two-way radios to notify city police of possible problems, but do not attempt to intervene in any situations themselves.

This year, two staff members from the Kalamazoo Public Schools are joining the patrol effort. The volunteers will be out in force between 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, and 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, patrolling the Arcadia, Knollwood, Vine and West Main neighborhoods. They will be wearing gray sweatshirts bearing the Peace'N It Together logo, which incorporates the peace sign and the words: "A Tradition of Peace, 1992-1999."

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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