Students For SafeWalk

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Why You Need to Know About SafeWalk (formerly BearWalk)

As a UC Berkeley student, I’m sure you can relate to the shared experience of spending late hours in Moffitt cram-studying or frantically writing an essay after procrastinating. I know the rewarding feeling of finally finishing and starting your return home all too well. However, as a female-presenting individual, it can be quite stressful walking in the dark alone. There have been many times when I have walked home from the library with a brisk pace and a keychain pepper spray, simply because I finished an assignment late at night.

What is SafeWalk?

SafeWalk (formerly known as BearWalk), is a student-run operation that helps organize a team of Community Service Officers (CSO’s) to safely escort students to their desired location late at night. SafeWalk is accessible for students of all gender identities and backgrounds who may feel uncomfortable or unsafe walking alone.

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Meet some of the students involved with SafeWalk

Melody Cosgrove, SafeWalk Outreach Supervisor

Melody is a third-year pre-law student at Cal studying political science. She strongly believes this night safety service plays a pivotal role in fostering a positive campus environment and this job has taught her paraprofessional skills when it comes to engaging with her community. She shares a heartwarming sentiment that SafeWalk “goes beyond walks—it’s about fostering community and security. Being able to reunite someone with their lost wallet (with everything originally still inside)—or sharing a deep conversation during a walk home—are some of the best feelings a college student can experience.”

Thomas Guzman, SafeWalk Program General Member

Thomas is a second-year studying industrial engineering. When asked about what the importance of safety means to him, he had personal insights on unspoken stigmas surrounding SafeWalk. Thomas shared that “a lot of people assume we strictly walk home certain demographics when it’s actually a super diverse mix of people.” He upholds the integral philosophy “that everyone is entitled to respect for their own comfort level, and it is critical for us to meet anyone where they are at and provide them with the equity they need to excel in any environment.”

When is SafeWalk available?

SafeWalk operates every day from dusk until 3 a.m. (last pick up at 2:30 a.m.). When heading home at night, you can also wait for the Night Safety Shuttle, an extension of the BearTransit daytime service, but it does not operate on major holidays and academic recesses. SafeWalk provides nighttime services 365 days a year, thanks to the help of UCPD’s Community Service Officers. During the fall and winter, the earliest request can be made at 6 p.m. During the spring and summer, the earliest pick up time changes to 7 p.m.

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Student CSO Bike Training. Photo by Chase Lam.

How do I request SafeWalk?

In order to request a SafeWalk, you must have a working mobile cell phone number and be within the walking range. For safety and physical limitations, SafeWalk CSO’s will meet you at and walk you to locations within these boundary limits.

Requests outside of these boundaries will not be approved by the CSO Dispatcher. The walking range for CSOs is:

  • Northside: Cedar Street
  • West/Downtown Berkeley: Milvia Street
  • Southside: Derby St
  • East/Berkeley Hills: Prospect St

There are two ways you can request a CSO to accompany you to your location:

  1. Use the request form on SafeWalk’s website. Log in by filling out your first and last name with your phone number. Simply type in your current location in the “A” subfield, your desired location in the “B” subfield, and the amount of people with you requesting a SafeWalk. If you have additional requests or accommodations, an “optional comments” subfield is also available. After submitting a request, the average wait time for a pickup is only around 13 minutes (that time can vary during peak hours like finals week).
  2. Request by calling 510-642-9255 (2-WALK). A CSO dispatcher will pick up to inquire about your current location and send a CSO your way in about 15 to 20 minutes.
 CSO’s who happened to run into Oski

A couple of student CSO’s who happened to run into Oski. Photo by Japinder Narula.

In the fast-paced, sometimes hectic environment of Berkeley, SafeWalk is a beacon of security, and testament to the community’s commitment to security. It’s easy to overlook the significance of feeling secure in one’s environment, especially when deadlines loom and the focus narrows to academic achievements. However, as our fellow students Melody and Thomas remind us, SafeWalk is more than a safety escort service—it is a program that connects students, creating a fabric of trust and mutual respect that extends to anyone on campus.

As you finish your late-night study session and the thought of the solitary walk home crosses your mind, remember that SafeWalk is more than a convenience; it’s a declaration that in the Berkeley community, no one walks alone. So, the next time you request SafeWalk, know that you’re not just requesting a walk; you’re engaging in an act that reaffirms the collective security and mutual compassion fostered at UC Berkeley.


Shannon Kim is a second year at UC Berkeley majoring in political economy and anthropology.

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