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Good Night Owls: Students’ Union launches new scheme

Sussex Students’ Union are recruiting volunteers for the “Good Night Owls” scheme.

The scheme is part of the SU’s zero tolerance policy and the “Good Night Out” campaign.

Student volunteers, dubbed “Good Night Owls” by the SU, will venture out into town on Wednesday nights.

The volunteers will aim to keep vulnerable students safe so they can enjoy their night out.

According to the SU, this might include: giving water to students, providing them with safer spaces and guiding them to reporting services, should the need arise.

The scheme is being piloted soon and the Students’ Union is currently recruiting 12 student volunteers.

The volunteers will be trained to communicate with distressed students and provide first aid. “Good Night Owls” will also receive welfare training.

Grainne Gahan, who was recently re-elected as Welfare Officer and who will lead the scheme, said: “I’m really excited that my manifesto pledge is happening!”.

The Badger also asked Ms Gahan whether anyone had signed up, to which she replied: “We don’t yet know who has signed up to the Night Owls scheme, it has only just launched.

“Applications are open online now for 12 volunteers at sussexstudent.com.”.

Volunteers have until March 27 to sign up.

Ms Gahan also said: “It’s good to have people that know what it’s like to be on a night out, looking out for their peers on a night out by making sure they can get home safe and looking out for their well-being.

“This project is being done in collaboration with a scheme simultaneously being run by the University.”

The scheme seems particularly relevant given media reports of increasing sexual assaults across UK universities.

A Guardian article from 5 March reads: “Sexual harassment ‘at epidemic levels’ in UK universities: Almost 300 claims against staff have been made in six years, but victims and lawyers say those are just tip of iceberg”.

This suggests the scheme could not come at a better time and that safeguarding all students, especially on a night out, should be a top priority.

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