The UT Police Department introduced a new logo for its Be Safe campaign last week in honor of dance freshman Haruka Weiser one year after her death.
“Some cultures change the name of their loved ones when they die, and the Weisers wanted to do that, so they gave Haruka the name Bright Faith,” UTPD spokesperson Cindy Posey said. “(The Weiser family) wanted to honor her new name by creating some type of symbol of light in the Be Safe campaign.”
Bright Faith will be visually represented as a flame embedded within the “a” of the Be Safe logo. Each year during the month of April, the Be Safe campaign images will incorporate yellow in addition to the campaign’s black, blue and white color scheme.
UTPD and the Weiser family also plan to expand the campaign to other schools, including schools in Weiser’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, and eventually to other universities, Posey said.
The Be Safe campaign originally began in 2015 with the goal of changing the culture of campus safety, but it wasn’t until Weiser’s death last April that UTPD initiated a more aggressive campaign agenda composed of four phases.
Phase one, which the Weiser family was heavily involved with, introduced three main safety ideas — “Walk With Me,” “Be Aware of Your Surroundings” and “Call 911.” Originally, UTPD planned on using the phrase “Don’t Walk Alone” until “Walk With Me” was suggested by the Weiser family, Posey said.
“We loved it, and we thought it was beautiful,” Posey said. “The Weiser family felt like the one thing that could have possibly saved Haruka was if someone had walked with her, and that’s been a big part of
Celia Kally, a Plan II and mechanical engineering sophomore, said the “Walk With Me” slogan resonated with her the most after Weiser’s death.
“Since the murder, walking with others is the first thing I think of when I think of safety on campus,” Kelly said.
The second and third phases of the campaign introduced posters and social media depicting safe practices, such as walking with a buddy and taking out earphones when walking, as well as “Safe Chats” between students, or dialogues that demonstrate the three practices introduced in phase one of the campaign.
“The posters sometimes add a darker tone to the idea of campus safety, but they serve as a good reminder,” neuroscience junior Heba Bhat said. “Before that happened, I never thought walking home from somewhere like the PCL would be an issue.”
Last month, UTPD began accepting student and faculty submissions of artistic representations of what it means to be safe on campus as part of the final phase of the campaign. These submissions can also incorporate the color yellow during the month of April in honor of Weiser, Posey said.
UTPD and the Weiser family said they hope the new logo will serve as a reminder of Weiser’s legacy on campus, Posey said.
“We want people to know about the campaign and how it came to be,” Posey said. “We really want people to remember her and remember the flame.”