Community takes in ‘National Night Out’

By Victoria O’Connor


Community safety, healthy living, sexual assault prevention awareness, and drug and alcohol awareness were highlighted Oct. 4 at the third annual “National Night Out” observed outside Alice McDermott Convocation Center.

“The University that brings us together” was this year’s theme for the campus event, one of many that took place around the city for this national program.

Free food — courtesy of Pugel’s Hot Dogs and Bahama Bucks Shaved Ice – brought out many participants along with activities, raffle prizes, free T-shirts, and more.

Some organizations with stations at the event included IBC Bank, Wells Fargo, Mothers against Drunk Drivers, Texas Highway Patrol and UIW Police Department.

UIW’s event was planned through a collaboration of several groups on campus including Campus Engagement, Office of Communications and Marketing, Police Department, Residence Life, Wellness Center, Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and the Office of Title IX and Compliance.

“I like the idea of [National Night Out] and I love how UIW has incorporated it here on campus,” Matthew Perez, a freshman business economics major, said. “I really like all the free stuff and how all these businesses came out here.”

Perez gained hands-on experience learning about the dangers of texting and driving while driving a go-kart with goggles that distort one’s vision.

“In the fatal vision driving, I probably knocked down all the cones,” Perez said. “So I know I shouldn’t be texting and driving.”

Elizabeth Ramirez, a representative from MADD, discussed the dangers of driving while under the influence.

“I came out here just to make students more aware of the dangers of underage drinking, the impact driving drunk has on someone, and just the dangers and risks that they wouldn’t want to do it,” Ramirez said.

To promote the idea of safe driving even further were the troops of the Texas Highway Patrol.

“(UIW) Chief (Robert) Chavez called us and invited us to come again,” THP Capt. Steven Tellez said. “We brought some of our troops and canines just to kind of spend time with the students and be a part of the community.”

Though students learned a lot about driving safe, Tellez said he also wants students to be comfortable with law enforcement.

“I think [the students] learned that we’re approachable,” Tellez said. “That we can get along and that we’re here to protect them, the community, and the public.”

UIW “does a real good job at bringing businesses and organizations to the event,” Tellez said. “It shows we are all one big community and that we all care about the same things. We can all get along with each other and just be essential — what I call a family.”

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