Student Ambassadors' pre-game tailgate patrol turns up no problems
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
The student organization, which patrolled popular tailgate areas in advance of the University of Michigan-Michigan State game Saturday, encountered no problems, said Jake Wood, a senior, who helped coordinate the ambassadors Saturday.
The Michigan Ambassadors Program was born out of a partnership among the Office of Greek Life, LSA Student Government, the Student Athletic Advisory Council, the Ann Arbor Police Department, the U-M Department of Public Safety and University Health Services. The program was piloted last season during the night game against Notre Dame and continued this past St. Patrick’s Day. Saturday was the debut for the patrols during the 2012 football season.
Volunteers walk through campus neighborhoods in small groups and offer suggestions to event hosts to maintain safety and avoid violating city ordinances.
"The importance of having the students doing this is twofold," said Wood. "We're keeping our community safe and we're putting in the effort to keep it safe."
There were 15 student Ambassadors covering the area of Hill, South State, Hoover and side streets before the game. They wore orange T-shirts and badges. The Ambassadors warned people about things like keeping alcoholic drinks off the side walks and turning down loud music before police could actually ticket them.
"We have great volunteers who know how to handle folks on game days," said Wood.
The ambassadors know that if they need help, they can call 911.
Mary Jo Desprez, who works with University Health Services, one of the organizations partnering with the Ambassadors, said it can be effective for students to advise and warn other students without having to involve law enforcement.
Desprez said the later a game starts, the more alcohol-related offenses and medical transports there tend to be.
The plan is for the Ambassadors to continue to patrol at every home game, and Wood said the group hopes to add more members.