A&M, community gathers for National Night Out
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 02:10
It’s not often that law enforcement and party-hopping go together. Tuesday night, there was a different kind of party scene near Northgate, attracting residents with free refreshments and prizes while informing them of important safety procedures.
The massive party was a part of the nation-wide effort to promote community bonding and safety known as “National Night Out.” According to The Eagle, there were over 65 separate gatherings around the Brazos Valley in recognition of the holiday.
The University Police Department and Department of Residence Life put on the National Night Out festivities for the A&M campus at the University Apartments Community Center. Displays promoting safety procedures were at the forefront of the gathering. From drunk driving, to wearing seatbelts, to preventing domestic abuse, the event covered major areas of crime that affect the Bryan-College Station area.
“It’s getting to know your neighbors, it’s getting to know what’s normal so that if something happens in your community instincts kick in, and you let the police know,” said University Police Department Master Officer Kristi Hosea.
While the majority of students are not permanent residents of the College Station community, they are still vital to the crime prevention process.
“Campus community members are a vital part in helping law enforcement keep the campus safe. We depend on our community members” said Lt. Allan Baron, community services division of UPD.
In addition to preventing crime, Aggies are known for their community service. Students from Texas A&M made up a strong presence amongst the volunteers. Junior mathematics major Quinn McCall and junior industrial engineering major William Davis — volunteers from Walton dorm — are veterans of the event who dress up as crash dummies.
“If we were to just sit in the dorm and do our own thing all the time that’d be great, but giving back is so much more important.“ McCall said.
National Night Out drew an eccentric group that varied in age, race and background. From small children in the bounce house to graduate students learning bike safety, it was a night that benefited all stages of life.
“It’s like a party for my kids and we get some information about safety and also education,” said Haiyam Chao, an international graduate student studying petroleum engineering.
The event was especially helpful for international students like Chao who make up a large population of the residents in the University Apartments. Many international students are unfamiliar with American law enforcement, and National Night Out gives them tools that will keep them safe while studying at Texas A&M.
Chao brought her entire family to the event. She said that as an international student she learned a lot of information she didn’t know.
“One program that I am very interested in is the savings account for education. That is very helpful.” Chao said.
For many students, College Station is just a city to pass through on the road to earning the degree. National Night Out broke down that barrier, allowing students and residents a chance to come together for the betterment of College Station.
“When you live here, the city is hosting you. I think that as a visitor you should help” Davis said.