State Farm funds go toward student safety awareness programs
Posted: 04/10/2012
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State Farm recently awarded The University of Texas-Pan American $55,000 to go toward educating students about ways to better understand and improve their personal safety and security.

State Farm Insurance Company recently awarded UTPA $55,000 to go toward programs to educate students about personal safety and security. Pictured left to right at the check presentation are Jeanette Broshears, associate dean of students; Dr. Martha Cantu, vice president for Student Affairs; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president; Robert Elizalde, State Farm agent (BBA Finance '91); Dr. Teofilo Ozuna, dean, College of Business Administration; and Lydia Aleman, associate vice president for University Advancement.
In a project managed by the UTPA College of Business Administration in March, students were able to earn $4,500 in prizes for their entries in a Simple Solutions for Safety video contest in three categories: safe driving, home safety and security and financial security. Awards were given for the best video in each category as well as the State Farm agent's pick for Best Overall Video, People's Choice (the most YouTube hits), and Most Creative video.

The funds from State Farm will also go toward the Bronc Auto Safety Education (BASE) project, a yearlong initiative kicked off in early March, with a number of activities and booths promoting driver safety in the UTPA Quad. Students heard from government agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation on the consequences of drinking while driving and also had the opportunity to operate UNITE's Arrive Alive program simulator, which allows students to experience in a controlled environment the potential consequences of driving while distracted, including texting and other cell phone use and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The BASE project is aimed to educate students on important aspects of auto, pedestrian and bicycling safety on and around the University campus, said Jeanette Broshears, UTPA's associate dean of students.

"The primary objectives of BASE are to reduce the incidence of distracted driving by students, particularly cell phone use and texting, and to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety on the part of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians," said Broshears. "By focusing on college-age students, the project's long term result will be the lifelong adoption of auto safety practices that will continue to be used well past graduation."

Some of the activities planned during the year are poster competitions promoting the project's goals and a design contest for campus signage promoting safety in University parking lots, a community-wide BASE Project conference for stakeholders, the initiation of a student organization to promote "Share and Be Aware on the Road, a weekend summer camp for approximately 50 middle and high school students promoting safe cycling, and a State Farm "Bike for Life" race and community fair highlighting the project's accomplishments during the year. BASE will also incorporate the distribution of information on the dangers of distracted driving during all new UTPA student orientations.

"Over the years, State Farm has been a major contributor and supporter of many initiatives at UTPA that have also included financial literacy projects. State Farm's role and commitment to students and community is very important to UTPA, and we thank State Farm for the efforts in helping to build better lives," said Velinda Reyes, UTPA director of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

If you would like to learn more about giving to UTPA, please contact the Development Office at (956) 665-5301.