Focus turns to student safety

The UDM Emergency Response Planning Committee will be hosting a Safety Awareness Week on all three campuses from Sept. 15-19 to raise awareness of safety-related issues on campus and in the surrounding area.

The committee includes representatives from all three campuses who focus on emergency planning and how to engage students to become aware of safety-related issues. 

According to Letitia Williams, committee chair and director of UDM Public Safety, the number of crimes on campus is very low.

The most common crime in 2013 was larceny, with 29 incidents reported. Larceny is the taking of property without the use of force.

“Larceny is the one crime on campus that is preventable because you just need to take your stuff with you,” said Williams. “People don’t want to deal with safety until they need it. If you reduce the opportunity, you reduce the risk. “

This is not the first Public Safety Week to be held on campus.

“We have had different formats of the event over the years,” said Williams. “One year the IT department had a display on IT safety and another time the dental school did one on oral safety. There was even once a booth at the student activities fair.”

On Monday, Sept. 15, a table will be set up in the library with brochures and a tri-fold poster board with safety information.

A table will also be set up at the dental school marketing booth right outside the cafeteria and in the law school library.

The timing for this event coincides with Safety Awareness Month, which is September, said Associate Dean of Students Dorothy Stewart.

“We want students to understand the policies and safety procedures on campus,” said Stewart. “We often take things like safety for granted. We try to get the message out, but it sometimes gets lost.”

The materials next week will include a safety brochure, a flyer with frequently asked questions and a new emergency procedure guide, which will be distributed on Thursday, Sept. 18.

“The emergency procedure guide is updated as needed while our emergency response plan is updated annually,” said Williams. “The information covered includes safety protocols and evacuation and containment procedures. It is laminated so that you can write your coordinator’s name and place of evacuation on it. All of this can also be found on the Public Safety website.”

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on that Thursday in the Titan Dining Room (TDR), committee representatives will be at the tables encouraging people to learn more about safety-related issues as well as sign up for UDM’s mobile emergency alert system, RAVE. 

For those who sign up and plug Public Safety’s phone number into their phone, there will be a giveaway every 15 minutes.

Prizes include T-shirts, free drink vouchers, free fitness classes and more. The booth will move from the TDR at 4 p.m. to the library to give more people the chance to sign up.

Giveaways aside, Williams said that she hopes to reach students.

“If students took away a safety measure they could apply in any situation, that would be wonderful,” said Williams. “You can’t predict every situation, but it is my hope that you will have enough information in your safety kit. If you do, then it is a win-win.”