A University Police Department (UPD) program designed to reward random acts of good behavior enjoyed a successful launch last semester, according to UPD Officer Lilah Carlaw, who brought the rewards program to campus.
Since October, UPD Officers have awarded nearly 50 students, faculty and staff prizes donated by local business (including gift certificates form Campus Auxiliary Services, Rino’s Pizza, Delish Frozen Yogurt and the New Paltz Bagel Café) for performing random acts of good citizenship: everything from picking up trash and holding open doors, to a group of students who helped someone experiencing an asthma attack.
While the rewards program was designed to incentivize these kinds of positive contributions to the campus community, it also was meant to open the lines of communication between UPD officers and the people they work alongside on campus every day.
“I wanted to promote communication between the police department, the students and the faculty, to open a discussion and lower the bridge between us,” Carlaw said. “It made it easier to just have a normal conversation: What are you majoring in? How long have you been here? Those kinds of things. I think sometimes when people see our uniforms, they think we’re there on official business. One goal of this program is to make it easier for people to see us for who we really are.”
The officers who participated in the rewards program have run out of gifts for now, but Carlaw says she’s working on getting another batch to keep the program going.