SafeHorns wins $20,000, plans to invest in safety

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Photo Credit: Elias Huerta

After winning $20,000 from Tiff’s Treats’ charity contest, safety advocacy non-profit SafeHorns plans to use the money to implement a safety patrol in West Campus.

Tiff’s Treats, an Austin-based bakery, celebrated 20 years of business with a 20th anniversary charity competition, which selected 214 charities based on proximity to their store fronts. The charities were given a code to place orders, and every order placed with their code would earn that charity 10 percent of the sale. The charity with the highest combined monetary sales at the end of the month won an additional $20,000. 

“We were trying to do something special that was a little more interactive than just doing a deal,” said Jeff Sartor, Tiff’s Treats executive vice president of marketing. “We wanted to find a way to do something that would allow us to give back.”

SafeHorns president Joell McNew said the organization wants to work with the Austin Police Department, the UT Police Department and other stakeholders in West Campus to put the money toward a pilot program called Citizens on Patrol.

 

“The model we envision is something like Downtown Austin Alliance, where you have people in matching patrol outfits,” McNew said. “They have the ability to contact resources, whether it be APD, UTPD ... but then they’re also a friendly face. From a safety perspective, someone else with boots on ground, eyes and ears watching to give students peace of mind.” 

McNew said a former city hall employee told her in order for additional safety measures to be implemented, she would need to bring money along with her ideas.

“That’s why this was so huge to me,” McNew said. “Will $20,000 fix (everything)? Absolutely not. But will $20,000 (brought) by a group of 4,000 of us who care deeply about seeing an improvement bring other stakeholders to the table with us with their checkbook? We hope so.”

McNew said she is meeting with APD on Monday to discuss the patrol plan, help determine costs and how the patrol could be implemented.

Emma Huff, a theatre-dance performance and business senior, said she joined SafeHorns’ efforts after the town hall meeting following dance freshman Haruka Weiser’s death in 2016. Huff, who personally knew Weiser, said she cried as she spoke on UT’s inadequate safety measures at that meeting. Huff said this time, she was crying from happiness when Tiff’s Treats presented SafeHorns with the $20,000 check. 

“What a way to go out,” Huff said. “From crying in the town hall meeting to crying here, so happy to receive this funding. That’s the perfect way to end it.”