SNAP program provides safety through ‘buddy system’

Students should always exercise caution when walking on a college campus, and the UNA Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol is here to ensure campus safety through the “buddy system.”

The SNAP program provides escorts to university students, staff, faculty and visitors. A person may contact SNAP via telephone at 256-765-4357, the last four digits spell HELP, according to

“SNAP is a great program, and we are happy to offer it,” said Deputy Chief of Police Mark Parker. “It is something you use just so you do not have to worry.”

The program operates between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. but is usually open longer when events are happening on campus, Parker said.

When someone contacts the SNAP workers, dispatchers at the UNA police station asks the caller’s current location and destination to determine the best way to escort them. This can be on foot or in the SNAP golf cart.

Then, the dispatcher contacts the SNAP workers with instructions for picking up the caller.

Two or more SNAP workers will escort anyone using the SNAP services to ensure safety.

Students at UNA work in the SNAP program. The UNA police perform a thorough background check, analyze driving history and require several references before hiring students to work under their branch.

Freshman Christian Lichtenauer said he always has a good experience using the SNAP program.

“They are very fast and efficient,” Lichtenauer said. “I use them all the time as a way across campus.”

The SNAP program does have limitations. Golf carts are not legally allowed to cross big streets, such as Pine Street, Parker said.

Parker said students should keep in mind the SNAP program is not intended as protection from danger. Anyone in trouble, in an uncomfortable situation or needing to report anything suspicious on campus should call the UNA police.

SNAP workers are used to monitor campus at night, but UNA police tells them not to become involved in situations on campus.

Parker said students should not be afraid to call the SNAP program. Most students use the program for a ride to their dorm after a long night studying at the library.

Freshman Kat Hall said she has not personally used the SNAP program, but she thinks it is good to have across campus. She said it is better to be cautious.

“Especially smaller females really need to be careful about what they do at night,” Hall said. “This is a good way to assure everyone is safe.”