UW Photo

As University of Wyoming students dived back into classes this week, the rest of Laramie made preparations for their return. The influx of students returning from the winter break poses problems as well as opportunities for businesses, police and campus officials alike.

UW Police Chief Mike Samp says as the students pour in, UW police are focusing on reaching out to them.

“We’re focusing on outreach, for example for transfer and international student orientation,” Samp said.

Samp said the main focus of the outreach is sexual assault and alcohol prevention.

Other outreach efforts by UW Police address problems that arise with students particularly during the wintry spring semester.

“Winter weather and road conditions are the biggest safety factor,” Samp said.

Laramie businesses are also anticipating the effects of the sudden increase in population. Big Hollow Food Coop Assistant Manager Jeff Hubbell said students returning always has an effect on business.

“It affects us a lot, we have a large student clientele that like to come here to purchase snacks,” Hubbell said.

Hubbell said graduate and undergraduate students, as well as UW faculty and staff going back to work increases business. To prepare, Hubbell said the coop builds up the produce areas.

“We make sure we have plenty of fresh produce for students and staff to make good snacks and healthy meals,” Hubbell said.

Hubbell also said that the coop puts out new items and has small sales so students can try out something new.

While stores are preparing for an uptick in business, the Laramie Police Department is preparing for an uptick in vehicle and pedestrian traffic. LPD Lieutenant Gwen Smith says the police department uses Highway Safety grant funding during the first few weeks that students return to Laramie.

“The funding allows us to put out some extra officers for traffic enforcement,” Smith said. “With the sudden influx of pedestrians and vehicles, it’s important for us to have officers monitoring the traffic and enforcing violations.”

Lt. Smith says while the LPD does see an increase in calls for service when the students are in town, it is to be expected with the increase in the population.