Beyond the Free Ride: What the Public Safety Escor...

Beyond the Free Ride: What the Public Safety Escort Service Has to Offer DePaul Students

It’s always well past sunset by the time I get off my closing shift at the Little Meatball, near the intersection of Lincoln and Fullerton avenues. I’m usually loaded down with a hefty amount of leftover pizza. I could walk, but I’m exhausted and it’s snowing outside. Uber can get pricey, and it’s just from one side of campus to the other. So, who am I gonna call? Public Safety!

Running from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day, the DePaul University Safety Escort Service will pick you up and take you to any spot on the Lincoln Park Campus. I work one block away from the music school, and always call the escort service to take me back to my dorm. 

Though I appreciate the warm and cozy car ride, DePaul’s Safety Escort Service offers one very distinct trait: wonderful drivers. No matter what mood I’m in when I get picked up, my driver always manages to improve it. Friendly conversation and general kindness are important in establishing a relationship between students and Public Safety, whether they are coming from night classes, work or dinner.  

Maureen Greene is DePaul University’s crime prevention officer. When she is not working in the Public Safety office, she spends her time at freshman orientation sessions where she alleviates both parents and students of their safety concerns. 

“It’s probably one of my favorite jobs that I get to do here,” said Greene. 

After working with Public Safety for 27 years, and previously driving for the escort service, she has had a wide range of experience and watched the system grow into the program it is today. 

DePaul Lincoln Park Campus Map (DePaul University)

The escort service experienced a period of expansion in order to accommodate the student population. When Greene first began her career at DePaul, there was only one officer assigned to the program. 

As DePaul’s student population and campus size began to grow, so did the number of drivers. Additionally, the direct Public Safety Escort Service line was set up to make the process faster and safer for students. 

As the service began to grow, so did Greene, transitioning from Public Safety officer to her current position. Though she no longer spends her time driving for the escort service, she still had many fond memories to share. 

She played Christmas music during the holiday season and connected with fellow Cubs fans on her drives. Once she took a DePaul and Loyola student back from a game. 

“I love your escort service. You guys come and pick us up, you talk, we don’t have that there [at Loyola],” said the passenger.

Escort services vary by institution. At the University of California, Los Angeles, a walking escort service is provided for UCLA students. This service is offered from dusk until 1 a.m. Loyola University Chicago offers a shuttle that loops between the Water Tower Campus and the Lake Shore Campus. 

“I think ours is very unique, and it suits the students of DePaul,” said Greene. Other escort services make it much harder to build a personal bond between faculty and students. “I like talking to the students … keeps us young,” she joked. 

One night in January, I had a discussion with a driver that I still hold close to my heart. I was feeling a little torn on some decisions surrounding my career path, and my driver went out of his way to calm my fears and help me make a decision. 

We bonded over our love of calzones, and I returned to my building feeling comfortable with my future career path. I felt incredibly grateful to use this service that enables simple and wonderful connections through the kindness of DePaul’s drivers.

Throughout the entire interview, Greene stressed that taking advantage of the escort service is a very safe choice for students. 

“We’re Public Safety, we’re here to help you,” she said. 

One of the largest goals of the escort service is to build the relationship between students and Public Safety. By connecting students to Public Safety officers directly, the stress in asking for help can slowly diminish. 

“We want you to use it. It’s a part of the services that are there for you,” said Greene. 

I call the Public Safety line and use the escort service every chance I get. Whether I’m cold, tired, feeling unsafe or just want some company on my route back to my residence hall. Whatever the reason, I know to call 773-325-7233 to reach the Safety Escort Service. 

If you’ve never called the line before, here’s the information you need to provide: how many passengers you have, where you would like to be picked up, and where you would like to go

Header photo by Grace Del Vecchio, 14 East