CSO trading cards hark back to a venerable Reed tradition.
Beat it, Babe Ruth. Pick up your deck, Pikachu. Move over, Magic: the Gathering. A new medium of rectangular exchange is about to hit campus—Community Safety Trading Cards.
Starting Friday, Community Safety Officers (CSOs) will carry trading cards as they make their rounds, handing them out to students as a way to build relationships. “As a team, we talked over the summer about what we wanted to accomplish this year, and our first priority is to develop relationships with individual students,” says Gary Granger, director of Reed’s office of community safety. “We hit on the cards as a fun way for CSOs to establish a personal connection.”
Each trading card includes a photo and a handful of fun facts about a CSO, from hobbies to favorite epic poems to potential superpowers (“atmokinesis” is one.) “The CSOs choose their own pictures,” says Granger. “And they decide who and when to give them out.”
The project borrows from a venerable Reed tradition. In the mid-nineties, scroungers gave out trading cards at the scrounge table in Commons. And for the last several years, Reed’s nuclear research reactor has circulated trading cards of operators and supervisors. “It’s a fun way for the operators to get to know each other,” says Melinda Krahenbuhl, the reactor’s director.
As the semester progresses, Granger envisions giving away goodies—such as a box of doughnuts—to students who have acquired certain cards from the set. At the end of the year, he may give a prize to the student with the most extensive collection. But Granger—whose spirit animal is listed as felis concolor—concedes that he doesn’t know exactly how students will use the cards. (We wouldn’t be surprised if they wind up clothespinned to bicycle spokes.)
The complete set currently runs to some 30 cards—including CSOs, dispatchers, and on-call employees—and features artwork by CSO Paul “Tallpawl” O’Connor. The project exemplifies Reed’s distinctive approach to community safety. During Renn Fayre, many CSOs (male and female) don kilts. And for several years, Granger has overseen a doughnut giveaway on April 20 to channel the festive spirit in a more positive direction.
"Building relationships always begins with one person finding a way to connect with another person," Granger says. "The trading cards seemed like a fun way to help CSOs initiate those connections outside of responding to unlock a room or take a report of a stolen bike."