Police departments, students spread information on how to be safe on Unofficial

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Jack Carlson, freshman in Media, knocks on multiple doors to promote alcohol awareness and safety for Unofficial. 

Jack Carlson and his fraternity brothers knocked on every door in an apartment complex just north of Green Street Wednesday afternoon. As residents opened their doors, they were handed a bag full of information on how to stay safe during Unofficial.

Carlson, freshman in Media, went door-to-door with Alpha Sigma Phi and police officers as one of several groups to distribute information about Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, which will take place March 6.

“If they give the pamphlet a little look, they will realize it is beneficial to them, and they can still have fun if they follow the direct rules,” Carlson said.

Nearly a dozen student volunteer groups participated in the third annual Champaign Community Coalition event “Walk as One.”

“We do the campus area because for years we have seen tragic events as a result of Unofficial,” said Patrick Connolly, Urbana Chief of Police. “We are trying to make the student population aware and safe which is the most important thing.”

Together the groups knocked on 4,000 doors, covering all of campus, and distributed alcohol safety information.

“The key is not to shut down Unofficial; the key is to make sure everyone acts responsibly and uses their head,” Connolly said.

After a tragic shooting that took place near Parkland College three years ago, in which a young woman was killed, the coalition started distributing information on gun safety and encouraged individuals to join the Champaign Community Coalition.

“The only way the Community Coalition works is if everyone gets involved,” Connolly said. “Each walk focuses on a different mission that we’re on, a different message that we’re trying to send to the community. This one today involves the safety of the U of I students.”

Ian Donovan, freshman in LAS, believes knocking on doors and spreading the word is beneficial, even if people don’t take them seriously. Due to issues that have come up in the past, he was happy to help in the prevention of drinking tickets and hospital visits.

“It’s a good message we are spreading,” Donovan said.

When people answer their door to police officers, Connolly said they are often concerned or suspicious because they assume they did something wrong. However, Connolly said the important message for students to understand through the event is that, “If we work together we are going to be able to solve the problems that we deal with day in and day out.”

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