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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI students call ‘MA’ and ‘PA’ for help on campus

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Faculty, staff, guests dialing ‘MA’ too!

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 26, 2006 -- Although their parents dropped them off at their residence halls last fall, University of Rhode Island students still have a set of parents they can depend on for help while they’re on campus. “MA,” short for URI’s Motorist Assistance Program and “PA,” short for Pedestrian Assistance Program are the brainchildren of the University’s Parking Services.

URI students, as well as faculty, staff, and guests can call “MA” whenever they encounter car problems on URI’s Kingston campus. MA, is a seven day, 24 hour free helping hand for members of the campus community who have locked their keys in their car or have a battery that has gone south.

“We also lend snow shovels, ice scrapers or gasoline cans to get the driver to the next gas station and can advise drivers on how to change their tires,” says Patricia Gardner, Parking Services coordinator. “And we take pride in the fact that we can get the driver on his or her way in about 10 minutes.”

Launched a year and a half ago, the program was highlighted this month when key chains were available to faculty members and staff to remind or inform them of the service.

MA drives a Ford Escape SUV so to speak. The vehicle was donated to Parking Services by URI’s Student Senate last winter and is used solely for the purpose of helping stranded motorists on URI’s Kingston campus, East Farm, Peckham Farm, and in graduate student housing. (Officers also drive other vehicles to perform these services.) MA can be reached days at URI’s Parking Services Office at 874-9281 or after 5 p.m. at the University’s campus police, 874-2121.

“We can’t guarantee we will be able to fix the problem, but we will provide the driver with as much assistance as possible,” says Gardner, noting that the service can respond to an average of 20 calls a day during inclement weather.

“PA” is a free evening service, which provides safety and health escorts for students traveling from URI academic buildings to and from their residence halls. Students can call 874-SAFE (7233) or 874-2121 to take advantage of this service. “These walks/rides are not “convenience” rides, but are for safety and health issues only,” says Gardner. “Although Police and Security personnel feel that the campus is a safe area for all to enjoy, it is always a safe idea not to walk alone anywhere at night.”