Disabilities can’t always easily be seen. While a broken leg can keep you from getting to class on time, so can a variety of other disabilities. That’s why Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) and Traffic Operations have teamed up to create a Student Campus Community Transportation Service vehicle (SCOUT).
SCOUT was created eight years ago when a few students expressed their need for help getting around campus. From then on the program grew into something much bigger and more helpful to students.
SCOUT provides the Fresno State campus with a variety of services, including transportation for registered students with mobility difficulties and/or other disabilities that make walking around campus hard.
Director of Services for Students with Disabilities Janice Brown said there are more than 600 students registered with SSD, and two-thirds of them have a hidden learning disability. There are currently 86 students that utilize SCOUT’s services.
Brown said some hidden learning disabilities include attention deficit disorder (ADD) and dyslexia. Students with permanent conditions, such as being blind or deaf, as well as mental disabilities like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can use the services as well.
Some temporary disabilities range from a broken leg or foot to a sprained ankle, whether you need the services for a couple of weeks or the whole semester.
Public Information Officer Amy Armstrong said there are five designated golf carts used for the SCOUT Program. Four are used for students with crutches or other disabilities, while one is wheelchair accessible. There are several other golf carts available for the safety escort service.
SCOUT’s five drivers make approximately 70 stops per day for registered students. But they will also stop and help others who need assistance.
“Drivers will offer one-time rides for those who need them and offer temporary services,” said Brown.
To become part of SCOUT’s transportation services students are asked to register with the SSD office to verify their disability. SCOUT accommodations for this semester will be made based on current class schedules.
The SSD office is located on the first floor of the Henry Madden Library, next to the south elevators.
The program is also responsible for responding to emergency calls, patrolling campus for unsafe situations, and monitoring the blue parking stalls to ensure individuals who need them are using them.
A safety escort service is also available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students can call the University Police Department dispatch number at 278-8400 and a safety escort officer will come accompany them to their next class or car.
“I encourage all students to use it [safety escort services] for safety,” said Brown.
Every safety escort officer is trained and in uniform, equipped with a radio for emergencies. A police officer will assist those in need if a safety escort officer is unavailable at the time.
Getting to class on time is important, but being safe is more crucial. A great deal of students have classes at night so students are encouraged to save the University Police Department dispatch number in their cell phones, just in case.
“We always encourage students to use the safety escort service if they don’t feel safe,” said Armstrong. “We are more than happy to provide this service.”