Nov. 4, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- About 60 Western Michigan University students have volunteered to serve as additional "eyes and ears" for Kalamazoo police this weekend in neighborhoods adjacent to the campus.
The student volunteer effort is the major component of Peace'N It Together, an initiative of the WMU Division of Student Affairs to help maintain order in activities surrounding Saturday's (Nov. 8) football game with Central Michigan University at Waldo Stadium.
"This is a way for students to be in a proactive role," said David E. Bone, a senior from Walled Lake who is student coordinator for the program. "We'll be helping to keep excessive partying to a minimum. But in a broader sense, we'll be showing that as students, we care about the community we live in and are taking steps to help out."
Albert W. Laaksonen, director of the Office of Off-Campus Life, said the reason for implementing the patrols dates back to 1977 when a student party became particularly unruly. In subsequent years, WMU administrators and students worked with local officials to promote orderly fall celebrations, but it wasn't until 1992 that a comprehensive plan emerged.
The plan was designed and initiated by students in collaboration with campus and community members, Laaksonen said, adding that students targeted the annual WMU/CMU football weekend as the most appropriate time to use peace patrols.
Patrol volunteers attended training sessions that were conducted by Lori Bennett, assistant director of residence hall life, with assistance from a student volunteer, the associate dean of students, WMU police and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.
This year, patrol members will be wearing cream sweatshirts with the Peace'N It Together logo. They will be out in force between 9 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 a.m. Sunday, patrolling the Lafayette, West Main, Vine and Arcadia neighborhoods as well as the area around WMU's new Bronco Sculpture.
Using cellular telephones donated by Centennial Wireless, the student volunteers will notify city police of any incidents by calling a central dispatcher provided by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. The officer on call will send out dispatches as needed. The students will not attempt to intervene in any situation themselves.
A variety of campus and off-campus organizations were invited to participate in this year's task force, among them, the Western Student Association, fraternities and sororities, the Office of Residence Hall Life, CMU, the Kalamazoo Public Schools, city and township police, and area neighborhood associations and landlords.
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA