University students distribute alcohol safety information

Sheriff+Dan+Walsh+during+th+%22Walk+As+One%22+event
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University students distribute alcohol safety information

Sheriff Dan Walsh during th

Sheriff Dan Walsh during th "Walk As One" event

Daily Illini File Photo

Sheriff Dan Walsh during th "Walk As One" event

Daily Illini File Photo

Daily Illini File Photo

Sheriff Dan Walsh during th "Walk As One" event

The Champaign Community Coalition hosted its second annual Walk as One on the University campus Tuesday.

Led by the University Police Department, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Champaign Police Department, about 270 students canvassed the campus to spread alcohol safety information to their peers prior to Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, which will take place March 7.

Michael Martin, sophomore and long snapper for the University football team, participated in the event. He said he thought it was a good way to give back to the community and prepare the campus to be safe.

“A few years ago a buddy of mine, his brother got killed on the night of Unofficial, so it kind of hits home,” Martin said.

The Champaign Community Coalition hopes to deter alcohol related fatalities and injuries through the Walk as One. The pamphlet distributed during the event contains information to help students participate in a safer Unofficial, including a tip sheet, a list of penalties and guidelines for developing a “Drinking Plan.”

With Unofficial looming, the Champaign County Coalition aimed to knock on 4,000 doors in the area from Springfield Avenue to Gregory Street and Oak to Sixth streets. This is 1,100 more doors than the event targeted the previous year, allowing more participants while targeting a higher student population.

“We actually turned people away last year because we just didn’t have any more work for people to do,” said Lt. Jim Clark of the Champaign Police Department. “We probably turned away 75 people last year.”

Although the event covered the majority of campus, fraternities and dormitories were not included in the walk’s scope. These students, as well as those who were not home during the event, should expect to receive an alcohol safety pamphlet via their University email. All students associated with University Housing or local leasing agencies are included in the mailing list.

Though Tuesday’s event focused on Unofficial, the Champaign Community Coalition serves the community in multiple ways, including walks advertising Halloween and back-to-school safety. Spurred by the shooting of Kiwane Carrington in 2009, the organization strives to create stronger community ties.

“It was created to improve relationships with the community, police and community relations and to just bring the whole community together to work as one group to address the issues that occur,” Clark said.

During a press conference on March 3 at 10 a.m., located at the Champaign Police Department, members of the coalition will discuss the success of the event as well as data from Unofficial 2013. Speakers will include the vice chancellor of the University and Clark, as well as representatives from the University Police, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Liquor Commission.

“We will talk about what our plan is, how we are going to address Unofficial as far as the educational component that we are doing (and) the Walk as One,” Clark said. “(Also) we’ll talk a little bit about what our main power commitment is going to be (and) how many officers we’re going to have addressing it.”

Chris can be reached at [email protected]