Student campaign nabs statewide attention

By Gus Bode

“ACTS” is trying to prevent casualties in the crosswalk

Members of the Advocates for Crosswalk and Traffic Safety will get a chance to show the progress of their crosswalk safety campaign to the Illinois Public Health Department Wednesday.

“Injury Prevention:Creating an Agenda for Action,” a three-day conference beginning on July 31 in Springfield beginning on July 31, will garner statewide recognition for the student advertisers.

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ACTS consists of a group of six SIUC undergraduates and four graduate students who have received sponsorship by many departments throughout the state.

ACTS, which formed in February, has created a multi-media educational campaign to help students to be aware of crosswalk safety. “Stop, Look, and Live” has been praised by the chancellor, one of many sponsors for the campaign.

The Illinois Department of Public Health invited ACTS’ members to present the evolution of the campaign to help students steer clear of crosswalk accidents.

“It will give us all a chance to go up and speak about problems over the years,” said Lt. Todd D. Sigler of the SIUC Department of Public Safety. “We’ll also get to review the new statistics that we all have come up with from this.”

ACTS is a product of the Jackson County Safe Communities Coalition, comprised of 16 municipal, law enforcement, social services, educational and health care agencies and includes the SIUC Department of Public Safety and Wellness Center.

The coalition was formed in 2000 from a three-year grant awarded to the Jackson County Health Department by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

ACTS began their campaign with clever posters, mouse pads and T-shirts. But now, the organization plans to advertise on the big Saluki Express buses.

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“I don’t know what the ads look like because they haven’t got it to us yet,” said Steve Ginn, the assistant manager for the Saluki Express. “I’m sure it will help awareness for everyone.”

Sigler said on-campus crosswalk accidents have declined.

“We’ve seen some promising numbers,” said Sigler. “There is a drop and decrease with automobile and personal accidents in 2002.”

It is not just ACTS that has stepped up to prevent any casualties of the crosswalk. The SIUC police have heavily patrolled any potentially dangerous regions for accidents around the campus.

In March, ACTS members teamed up with SIUC police officers in unmarked vehicles and recorded more than 1,000 observations of the crosswalk behavior of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, Sigler said.

“We have done some effort,” said Sigler, “There is additional focus around the crosswalk area.”

A three-day conference is taking place July 31in Springfield as a part of the “ACTS” media campaign.

Reporter J.D. Wright can be reached at [email protected]

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