UNM students launch program to improve safety at night

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — During the day, thousands of UNM students are out and about on-campus. However, once the sun goes down, students’ safety concerns go up.

“There are times, if I’m here at night, where I definitely don’t feel safe,” said Rae Ann Rodriguez, a senior at UNM.

Recently, the New Mexico Legislature awarded a $100,000 grant to the “Lobo Lift” program. The Associated Students at UNM started it to get students across campus safely in a golf cart.

“We will run it throughout the week. We’re looking right now, Monday through Thursday and doing hours of 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. They’re really late-night hours when students are getting out of late-night classes or staying out late at the libraries,” said Krystah Pacheco, ASUNM’s vice president and incoming president.

Students will call dispatch to request a ride. However, these golf carts are limited in where they can go.

“We are looking primarily at Central Campus just because, with golf cars and laws through MVD, we can’t really cross roads with golf carts,” Pacheco said.

That’s where UNM police come in, as they already offer a 24/7 service. It takes students to and from areas on campus, where, perhaps, Lobo Lift can’t get to.

University leaders say Lobo Lift will not only be another travel option but can also make students feel more comfortable.

The program is also student-run and led.

“A lot of students don’t find it appealing to sit in the back of a cop car, to get an escort service,” Pacheco said. “So hopefully having this program in place, where we are able to provide safe rides, especially at that late night hour, where students are more apprehensive to be by themselves, can really alleviate that and encourage students to be on campus.”

Lobo Lift is still in the early stages. The plan is to use the $100,000 in grant money to buy golf carts and employ students. Then, they play to get the program started next fall.

UNM also has plans to make safety improvements, including upgrades to accessibility, lighting, key card systems and security cameras.