Wildcat Walk sees utilization decrease

Students can request a Wildcat Walk escort through the LifeSafe app. (Photo Illustration by Cassandra Nguyen | Collegian Media Group)

Wildcat Walk, a collaboration between the Office of Student Life and the K-State Police Department, has seen a significant decrease in use by Kansas State students, staff and faculty.

In 2015, K-State police officers accompanied a member of the K-State community across campus as a part of Wildcat Walk 216 times. In 2018, that number dropped to 74.

So far this year, Wildcat Walk has only been used 21 times. Lt. Bradli Millington, K-State Police support services coordinator, said usage varies from year to year.

“ometimes there will be a while where people really rely on it, and we’ll be really busy with it, then it seems people will get more comfortable and it will suddenly drop off,” Millington said.

Millington said K-State Police receives more Wildcat Walk requests come in around the times when daylight doesn’t last as long as well as around midterm and final exam times.

“With finals coming up, people will be staying on campus later and later and we always see a trend of there being a spike in people needing us to be with them across campus, but then the number will typically flatten out again until the next time for exams,” Millington said.

Millington said a common misconception around Wildcat Walk is that it is only used when it is dark, but in reality, it is used at any time of day.

“It is a 24/7, 365 day service,” Millington said. “It is really mostly used whenever someone might feel uncomfortable being on their own on campus, which could be in the middle of the afternoon or right after someone getting out of class, and that’s really the whole point of us offering this service.”

Before Millington was the coordinator of K-State Police’s support services, he used worked with Wildcat Walk as a bike officer. Millington said he appreciated meeting people and interacting with the K-State community as part of his job.

“I would hop on my bike and ride over to them and have a conversation with them. I liked having the contact with them and asking them ‘How’re you doing?’ or ‘Where’re you from?,’ and I would just usually ride by them and try to have the best contact with them I could have,” Millington said.

He said that usually Wildcat Walk escorts are done by unarmed K-State security officers, but users can request a police officer for a greater sense of security. Officers can walk or ride on bicycle with whomever requested the escort between areas on campus or up to two blocks off-campus.

Wildcat Walk service can be requested by calling 785-395-SAFE, through the LiveSafe app or by pushing one of the blue light emergency buttons found across campus.