According to their press release; Southern Arkansas University was pushing pedestrian safety this past Tuesday for "Look Up Day." It went on to say; Adorning shirts with a logo of a silhouetted student on a cell phone walking in front of an automobile, the need to be alert and safe was the message shared by Southern Arkansas University faculty, staff and student representatives who were stationed at crosswalks across campus Tuesday morning.

“We started this project wanting to protect our students, faculty and staff because they are our most precious commodity here at SAU, and I think we have taken the first step toward that goal,” said Deana Taylor, president of the SAU Staff Senate and chair of the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee.

The record-setting growth at SAU has transformed campus with new facilities, academic programs, and more activity and energy on campus. It has also caused the streets and crosswalks to be busier, and with technology capturing everyone’s attention, the roadways at campuses across the nation are experiencing safety challenges for pedestrians.

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Two “Look Up Day” volunteers welcome a pedestrian who used the crosswalk with a sucker and a pedestrian safety tips card Tuesday morning between Wilson Hall and the Business Building.

“We are so proud of our campus community and their commitment to the ‘Look Up’ campaign.  As our campus continues to grow, we are naturally seeing an increase in the number of pedestrians and vehicles on our streets and crosswalks,” said SAU President Dr. Trey Berry. “This campaign reflects our campus commitment to trying to keep our students, faculty and staff safe at all times.”

Victor Moore, member of the Staff Senate and safety committee, was one of the volunteers handing out cards with pedestrian safety tips and suckers to those crossing SAU’s roadways. He was stationed in front of Overstreet Hall at a crosswalk caught between two curves.

“The main thing I noticed was that it seems people speed up coming from both directions in the curves before the crosswalk,” said Moore. “I never realized how dangerous that particular crosswalk was before this morning.”

Taylor believes it will take everyone being aware of the danger to keep everyone safe. “We are dedicated to doing everything we can to raise awareness of the need to use crosswalks and stay off cell phones while crossing the street,” she said. “There is also a need for drivers to observe the speed limit in all areas of campus and to be aware that pedestrians could be attempting to cross the street at many different locations around the campus”

Pranit Hamal, a senior who volunteered to be a part of the safety committee and work the busy crosswalk in front of the Reynolds Center during “Look Up Day,” echoed Taylor.

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A common scene at the crosswalk in front of Overstreet Hall as a pedestrian walks between multiple vehicles coming into and out of curves on the four-lane Jackson Street.

“Drivers and pedestrians alike share the responsibility of keeping themselves and others safe on the road. We have been taught from childhood to look left, right and forward before we cross. However, the use of technologies while walking has prevented us from thinking of the basics. SAU’s ‘Look up Day’ has given us one more chance to remind ourselves the basics of pedestrian safety,” he said.

The safety committee has distributed the “Look Up” logo they wore on their shirts across campus on flyers, television display screens, and even has ordered sidewalk decals to be placed leading up to crosswalks when they arrive.

“Victor said it to the people crossing the street (who were using the crosswalk) that it only takes the first step to make a move in the right direction,” said Taylor. “I think with ‘Look Up Day’ we have taken the first step toward the goal of keeping our growing student body and employees safe as they cross the roadways on campus.”



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