Sixteen student employees are keeping their eyes peeled for crime in the area around campus as part of the Community Ambassador program through the Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement in Student Life.
These students are a part of Buckeye Block Watch, which was created as an initiative of the Community Ambassador program, said Becca Anderson, the 13th Avenue Community Ambassador and a fourth-year in English.
As a part of the Buckeye Block Watch, these students, who are paid university employees, try to educate residents about safety through meetings and events, said Courtney Schmidt, the 18th Avenue Campus Ambassador.
One event the Community Ambassadors organized, the biannual “Buckeye Block Watch Bash,” brings a party atmosphere to off-campus safety, Schmidt said. It brings organizations like Student Legal Services and University Police together with students to talk about safety and building a sense of community.
Schmidt said another event, “Scarlet the Streets,” helped spread community beautification. As part of this event, students decorated their houses to show support for Ohio State during Beat Michigan Week and to win prizes.
The events were started as a safety initiative, but they also build a sense of connectivity in off-campus neighborhoods, Schmidt said.
“It’s a chance to have an open conversation with Columbus officials — police officers, risk management, student wellness — about ways to better the community,” she said. “The meetings are more tangible extensions where students could come and voice their concerns about what they’re seeing in the off-campus areas.”
Since October, the Buckeye Block Watch has held town hall meetings once a month in addition to these events, Anderson said.
However, Anderson said that with attendance numbers dipping at meetings, and retention levels at zero, the Community Ambassadors wanted to offer students an opportunity to better themselves along with their communities.
“We wanted to create something where it offered leadership experience, resume building, volunteering opportunities,” Anderson said. “This is still embodying the Buckeye Block Watch motto of ‘see something, say something’ in the sense of giving straight back directly to the community that you live in.”
The Community Ambassadors’ idea is to create an off-campus service club to involve residents of the off-campus area in designing and implementing monthly service projects within the University District, Anderson said.
The next meeting of the off-campus service club will be held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the George Wells Knight House, located at 104 E. 15th Ave.