Story by Sarah LeBlanc
As a small, private university located near the largest city in Iowa, the Drake neighborhood faces challenges due to its metropolitan location.
While Des Moines has many opportunities for students to excel outside the boundaries of the university, it also harbors safety challenges that need to be recognized.
Founded in 1979, one organization works to ensure that students feel safe at home.
The Drake Neighborhood Association is composed of members within the Drake community who are committed to preserving the safety of students around campus so that they may feel able to take full advantage of their environment.
One of these members is David Courard-Hauri, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Drake University.
Courard-Hauri is past president and now secretary of the association.
The Drake Neighborhood Association monitors the area from “Franklin to the interstate, and MLK to 42nd, more or less,” Courard-Hauri said.
While the Association does not directly deal with safety on campus, it works to create a safe area for students and community members in the neighborhood around the university.
The Association focuses on the Drake community and works “to improve the conditions and community in the neighborhood,” Courard-Hauri said.
It is important to feel safe at home, and the Drake Neigborhood Association works to achieve this goal of creating a secure environment for students and the community through efforts to enhance the image of the community.
Courard-Hauri also emphasized the work of the Association around the community, specifically “through activities like beautification, crime prevention, and so on.”
Courard-Hauri stressed the importance of a safe environment for students and spoke about the work the Association is involved in to ensure the well-being of students and the community.
“We do a lot with crime prevention,” Courard-Hauri said. “Often that means working with landlords to get them to do background checks on tenants, working with police to let them know about trouble spots, identifying and removing gang tags, that sort of thing.”
The Association also directly works to prevent dangerous situations by looking at the sources of potential hazards for students.
“We also occasionally pressure local bars when we find that they’re serving to minors,” Courard-Hauri said.
By inhibiting the accessibility of alcohol to underage students, the campus will be safer, healthier, and more able to promote a serious educational environment for students.
The Board of Directors for the organization holds its meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at St. Catherine’s Church at 7 p.m.
Anyone interested in joining the organization or voicing their concerns on issues in the Drake neighborhood is welcome to the meetings.