Last week’s Campus Safety Week, an annual initiative sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA), presented a variety of safety topics, including first aid and relationship safety, despite about five people showing to each session.
According to Elizabeth Hernandez, SGA vice president of student and academic affairs, Campus Safety Week is a student-led initiative to advocate for safety because administration and faculty organize the other safety-related events at SRU.
“The purpose of some of these events aren’t saying that you’re not going to be qualified to do CPR or qualified to give care report training, but it’s just basic awareness of these different procedures.”
Session topics included first aid, sexual harassment and care report training, AED and fire extinguisher training and relationship safety. The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), philosophy department, ROTC, and Sorority and Fraternity Life sponsored one session each.
SGA hosted Campus Safety Week three weeks after conducting the annual Student Life Survey. Of the 798 survey responses, 37.15 percent of students indicated a reason that they felt unsafe on campus.
According to Hernandez, of the 119 people who selected sexual assault as a reason for feeling unsafe on campus, 116 were women.
“So 119 people who are reporting sexual violence as why they feel unsafe on campus is a very big concern, no matter if it’s out of 800 or 8,000,” Hernandez explained.
According to Hernandez, about five people attended each session. The relationship safety session, which featured a speaker from the Victim Outreach Intervention Center (VOICe) in Butler, had three students in attendance. At the AED and fire extinguisher training, seven students, who were all SGA representatives, attended.
“[Attendance] was disappointing, but at the same time, if we look back on the numbers from year to year, it’s always been low,” commented Hernandez. “I think it is expected, but we try to do outreach.”
Active shooter trainings during common hour, an initiative from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, has also been affected by student turnout. According to Paul Novak, interim executive director, all four trainings this semester were canceled after no students showed.
“We will have a discussion to see if there’s something we could to do get more students to attend,” Novak said.
In addition to low student turnout, poor weather conditions impacted activities for Campus Safety Week. Campus Crawl, originally scheduled for last Wednesday, was postponed due to rain.
During Campus Crawl, students observe different areas of the campus and report any problems. According to Hernandez, student reports led to lighting fixtures and accessibility button fixes.
Campus crawl was rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m.
Hernandez said that alternative ideas for Campus Safety Week are being discussed. So far, orientation, Week of Welcome (WOW) and community assistants were mentioned as possible resources to introduce safety topics to students.
“I think it helps us realize that maybe Safety Week isn’t the best opportunity to get safety to the students,” Hernandez said. “When realizing that, we can bounce ideas of that.”
When evaluating Campus Safety Week, Hernandez said that she debriefed with the SGA advisers, Novak and the provosts to discuss future safety initiatives.
“Maybe it is time to look at turning Safety Week into a new event or a new initiative,” Hernandez proposed.