USG West plans for safety escort service, cooler pavement

PAVING WEST: The ASU West campus in Phoenix sits deserted on a Sunday morning. The West campus will be undergoing changes such as new pavement and a student safety escort service. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

The West campus undergraduate student government is planning a safety escort service and a re-pavement project to keep the campus cooler.

The need for a safety escort service was identified last fall after the campus began hosting late night programming outside the dorms, said English and philosophy senior Sasha Billbe, vice president of service. Before fall 2010 all of the late night activities were hosted inside Las Casas Residence Hall, she said.

“The necessity for the service was genuinely shown this past year,” she said.

The need was also made apparent after a student fell and hurt her knee on the slip-and-slide at Sparky’s carnival in fall 2010, Billbe said. There were plenty of staff on hand at the event to take the student to the hospital but the campus didn’t have any golf carts to transport the student.

Billbe said she has been looking at the safety escort service on the Tempe campus to provide a model for the pilot program they are planning to launch in the spring 2012.

It is a free service paid for and run by undergraduate student government that students can call if they feel uncomfortable walking around campus alone at night, she said.

The service is tentatively scheduled for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for about four to six hours, Billbe said.

Hours would be extended or added on different days for special late night events, she said.

USGW has not decided whether it wants to purchase golf carts or Segways for the service. There have been problems storing golf carts in the past, while Segways can be stored in closets inside buildings, she said.

USGW is also planning a reflective pavement project with Parking and Transit and Facilities management for either a parking lot or a sidewalk, said Chief of Staff David Anaya, a interdisciplinary arts and performance senior.

Reflective pavement is made with a special thin and strong concrete mix and then coated with an ultra high performance cool coating that reflects the heat of the sun rather than absorbing it, to help keep the area cooler, according to the website of Emerald Cities Cool Pavement, the company that USGW is working with.

USGW is working with Parking and Transit and Facilities management, as well as various other departments on campus to see if they would help share the cost of the project, Anaya said.

At the earliest this re-pavement project would start in spring 2012, he said.  But if USGW chooses to coat a parking lot, then the project may not start until next summer.

Billbe said the inspiration for the reflective pavement project came from the Sheraton’s overflow parking lot on Taylor Street and First Street near the Downtown campus. This parking lot was re-paved and coated with a green cool coating similar to paint over the summer by Emerald Cool Pavements. Cool coating comes in a variety of light colors, she said.

Billbe said she was working at a summer journalism camp over the summer at the Downtown campus and she helped students investigate the cool coating for their articles.

“On one of the hottest days of the summer … we were walking across it barefoot absolutely fine,” she said.

Billbe said USGW might repave the walkway between Las Casas Residential Hall and the academic buildings gold because students could volunteer to paint it with a gold cool coating themselves. USGW is also discussing stenciling a Sparky onto the sidewalk with cool coating.

“We want to make it a huge community event,” Billbe said.

If USGW opts to coat a parking lot instead students couldn’t participate because the Emerald Cool Pavements must apply the paint in a particular way so cars don’t skid across it, she said.

USGW Sen. Meda Saber, a history senior, said he supported the walkway over a parking lot because the cool coating would wear away as fast as it would on a parking lot and painting it would bring students together.

“It would be our own version of ‘A’ mountain,” he said.

 

Reach the reporter at mshinn@asu.edu