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O’SNAP promotes safe transportation

| Friday, December 12, 2014

For one of the term’s first major policy initiatives, student body president Lauren Vidal and vice president Matthew Devine, both seniors, set out to augment late night student transportation on campus with the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (O’SNAP).

O’SNAP allows Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) student employees to use two Global Electric Motor (GEM) cars to give students rides at night, NDSP sergeant Tracy Skibins said. Two NDSP golf carts supplement the service if both cars are in use.

O’SNAP runs Sunday through Wednesday from 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it runs from 9 p.m.  to 3 a.m, Skibins said.

Vidal said O’SNAP came to fruition after discussing campus safety and looking for tangible ways to positively impact the student experience through a necessary safety initiative.

“We conducted research, worked with NDSP and ND Transportation to determine the best vehicles for the new service,” Vidal said. “Thus far, it has been a very positive initiative, but overall we will continue to build upon the program to tailor it to Notre Dame’s current climate.”

Skibins said the service averaged approximately 650 rides per month during October and September.

“In the month of November, O’SNAP recorded over 1,000 riders in only one month,” Vidal said.

Students can receive rides from O’SNAP by calling NDSP or going to the substation in the lower level of LaFortune Student Center, Skibins said.

“Students who are in LaFortune can go up to the student employee and request a ride that way, if they don’t want to call on the phone,” she said. “[The student employee] also offers safety tips, information on how to register property and all the different resources available to them through NDSP. That’s brand new, too, and it’s tied in with the O’SNAP program.”

Skibins said the O’SNAP service fits NDSP’s larger mission to promote student safety, and NDSP still offers assistance when the program is not operating.

“Let’s say its 3:30 a.m. and the service is no longer operating, or its 8 p.m. and the service has not started yet — we won’t turn anyone away if you call NDSP,” Skibins said. “We will simply dispatch one of our officers to assist.

“NDSP is thrilled to be working together with student government in offering this service to students,” she said. “NDSP and NDSP student employees realize that we are working on making this as efficient as possible and as useful as possible, and we expect improvement along the way.”

Vidal said the O’SNAP service has received positive feedback so far, and her administration continues to develop services that reflect student needs.

“We will be utilizing vans, provided by Notre Dame Transportation, for the heavy winter snows, so that students will still get safe, reliable and warm transportation,” she said. “The mobile app is almost completed, thanks to [the Office of Information Technologies] and NDSP’s help, and we will be launching it soon. The mobile app will have choices for pick up and drop off locations all around campus and will send a message straight to dispatchers.

“O’SNAP is still being worked on, as we are always looking to make the program better, but we have seen a huge increase in ridership and students utilizing safe and reliable transportation in the evenings. This is what we set out to do, now we will work throughout the remainder of the year to make it even stronger.”

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About Catherine Owers

Senior News Writer Catherine Owers is a senior from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is studying English and Theology.

Contact Catherine