Walk This Way, Talk This Way: An Interview with Julia Riback, Safe Walker

Julia Riback, a current Sophomore at Bates College, has been working as a safe walker since the beginning of the year. Julia found out about the job through the Student Employment Office and is her first job on campus.

Bates College offers a variety of jobs with differing levels of time and energy commitment, so if you’re looking for a job that doesn’t take up too much time but is important to the safety on campus, a Bates Safe Walker position might be up your alley. For Julia, working as a safe walker seemed like a “low-maintenance job that did not require too much of a time commitment” that also allowed her to walk around the campus she loves and help students feel safer when the sun sets. “ My friend also was interested in applying for this job in particular and we decided to apply together.” All she needed to do was “fill out the application on the SEO website in order to apply.”

All safe walker shifts are from 8-10pm and most workers decided to take on one or two shifts each week. “Each safe walker has a partner and for two hours they walk around campus in orange vests with a flashlight and walky-talky, offering individuals safe walks and communicating with a student dispatcher on duty in security about who and where they are walking,” Julia explains. Riback usually works around 2-4 hours per week, depending on how many shifts she wants to sign up for that week.
Julia finds that the perks of the job including often being able to walk her friends back to their homes, which gives her a chance to “catch up with my friends who I haven’t seen in a while.” She also is impressed with the flashlight she is bequeathed for the job as it’s “so powerful it can shine all the way across the quad.”

Julia has found her job to be a good introduction to the workforce. “My only previous jobs have been at summer camps and being a safe walker has helped me adjust to working with a strict schedule and working with a boss that is very clearly a superior rather than a coworker.” Having an on campus job has also taught Riback to be diligent with her school work in order to have enough time for her Tuesday evening shift.“It has forced me to juggle my commitments and have another priority besides academics. I have noticed an improvement in my interpersonal and communication skills because of my close-knit work with my safe walker partner and also because of the direct and succinct communication necessary with the on duty dispatcher.” Riback appreciates that her job has allowed her to garner skills that will be imperative to several aspects of her future, and is “particularly looking forward to using these skills in the careers I plan to pursue.”

“It has been working hand in hand with security these past couple of months. I had never even set foot in the security building before I became a safe walker, but now I feel that I truly understand the inner workings of security on campus” says Julia. Through her job, she has learned the intentions of security and also the services they have to offer which makes her feel “safer and also more aware of the campus in general.