The sound of a golf cart buzzing around campus at night provides the comfort of security in a S.N.A.P.
That’s the acronym for the Student Night Auxiliary Patrol, a service that provides escorts to students, faculty, staff and university visitors to and from different locations on University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega campus.
UNG police launched the service in fall 2017 with five student workers, said police captain Dennis Dorsey in an email.
“In addition to safety escorts, our S.N.A.P workers act as an extra set of eyes and ears on campus,” Dorsey said. “When not giving escorts, they are riding through parking lots and other areas of campus, reporting anything suspicious to the Police Department.”
S.N.A.P. runs Sunday through Thursday; hours vary based on campus events.
“We do adjust and work at different events, such as commencement, SGA events and athletics if needed,” Dorsey said.
S.N.A.P recently assisted with a veteran’s fair, escorting elderly attendees from a parking lot to the Military Leadership Center, Dorsey added.
With students driving the shuttles, S.N.A.P. provides an opportunity for those looking to law enforcement as a career to get a head start. Job openings will be listed here.
The steps to become a S.N.A.P worker include a thorough process of vetting and training.
The student workers are selected based on their application, interview and an expanded background check. Once chosen, they complete approximately 40 hours of training that includes security and integrity, radio operations and golf cart driver training, Dorsey said.
Because the service is relatively new, demand is not yet high.
“Currently we are fairly slow because S.N.A.P is less than one year old at UNG,” said Eric Haviland, a student S.N.A.P. driver. “Once we get a larger presence, we are hoping to increase the calls for service.”
“Starting out, we could go a week without a call to the dispatch room,” Haviland said. “Now that people are seeing us driving around more, we get a few calls per night.”
Working for S.N.A.P allows students to not only gain experience with law enforcement duties, but also gives opportunities for meeting new people.
“Being able to meet more people in a setting that is not class or academically related is nice because you’re helping people instead of being focused on the exams and project due dates,” Haviland said.
The service has garnered positive feedback from many students on campus.
“They were super-friendly,” said Gabby Peralta, a design and technology for theater major and Dahlonega resident who took S.N.A.P. home from a rehearsal at the Holly Theater. “They offered to take us back to our dorm so we didn’t have to walk.”
Although there is a number to contact the service, students often see the S.N.A.P cart driving around campus and flag it down for a ride.
Students also use S.N.A.P to help stay out of the elements while heading back to the dorm.
“[S.N.A.P. service] didn’t want me to get wet or dirty,” said Andrew Gomez, a senior computer science major and cadet in Dahlonega.
So, next time you see a student worker driving a golf cart around at night, stop and ask them about it. Because they definitely aren’t picking golf balls.
To request a S.N.A.P escort, call 706-867-SNAP (7627) or for more information about S.N.A.P and campus safety statistics, visit UNG’s public safety and campus police website.