Updated: Jan 16, 2019
This past week, the employees of Salisbury University’s Office of Housing and Residence Life brought the concept of safety to life with various events revolving around how to handle possibly dangerous situations.
Some highlights of the week included events like educating students to be aware of their surroundings with the Peephole Project to Active Shooter Training to the Safety Extravaganza.
Building directors, who aid in being administrative guides to the resident assistants, played a large role in organizing Campus Safety Week and making it a reality.
Building director Winston Branch explained that there are so many different sanctions of safety and the campus community should be educated on all of them.
“I think it’s important because there’s different ways to be safe on campus, whether it’s physically, emotionally or mentally safe,” Branch said. “I hope this week lets students know that there are different ways to be safe, and I hope we are able to open their eyes to different ways to be safe that they didn’t know before.”
Junior and RA at SU, Dorothy MacLean-Blevins, explained the Peephole Project, which emphasized the importance of knowing who’s at the door before opening it.
“An event to bring awareness to mainly freshmen to check their peephole before they open their door,” MacLean-Blevins said. “It’s important to be aware of who’s knocking at your dorm.”
The week also included the giving away of useful safety items from glow sticks to whistles to condoms, and any small item that might be of use to aid in one’s safety here on campus.
In light of all the violence with guns happening worldwide, an event that the RA’s of SU found extremely necessary and important was the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events.
Officer Horengic from Salisbury University Police Department led the presentation that was loaded with information on survival tactics, breathing methods and real-life examples of the best and worst ways to handle an active shooter attack.
“The reason why we’re doing this here at the university and the reason it’s important is because these active attacks are happening all the time, so I want the civilians to be prepared and I want them to have the confidence to be able to survive these active attacks,” Horengic said.
Though attendance of the event was lower than the residence staff had hoped for, junior and RA Kaitlin Ulmer found any attendance at all helpful because that is one more person who could learn life-saving tactics.
“It’s important to know because people who have gone through this training and have been in an active shooter situation are better prepared and have a better chance of survival because it teaches you really good survival skills,” Ulmer said.
“You never know where or when something like this is going to happen – at events, or the mall or anything like that. It could happen anywhere.”
Ulmer finds that the week as a whole is important in that it educates people further in things that they do not initially associate with an issue of safety.
“Most people think safety is like stopping at stop signs and paying attention to pedestrians, but it also has to do with safe sex and fire hazards, and stuff like that,” Ulmer said.
Sophomore Stacy Serwaah attended the active shooter training due to the relevance as well as out of curiosity.
“I’m curious with everything going on, and how there’s a lot more shootings going on. I think it’s important to prepare yourself on the chance that something like that might happen to you,” Serwaah said.
The event is mainly targeted at freshmen; however, it was open to the entire SU community.
“For freshmen, we target freshmen mainly because this is like their first time alone without parents and without other guidance,” MacLean-Blevins said. “And it’s really important that they’re being safe in every different facet; we just want to make sure the campus is extremely safe.”
The final event of the week was the Safety Extravaganza – an event that the residence life staff hoped would shed a more fun and positive light on the ways that one can keep safe on and off campus.
The extravaganza included events from a dunk tank to safety games like What’s in Your Drink?, drunk-goggle bicycle races, make-your-own air freshener, prizes, free pizza and more.
Freshmen Kayla Mangin and Kristen Towers attended the event solely out of curiosity and boredom following the cancellation of a study session; however, they found the event to be surprisingly eye-opening.
“I really enjoyed the build-your-own air freshener station, and we had a lot of fun watching people doing the drunk bicycles and falling off,” Mangin said. “I think the event is really important because it raises awareness about safety.”
“We did that drinking game that shows how easily something can be slipped in your drink and they put a gummy bear in the drink and it dissolved, which just shows how things could be put into your drinks and you wouldn’t even know,” Towers said.
Fellow RA and junior Jeremie Barbosa enjoyed the extravaganza the most because she volunteered to be in the dunk tank, but she also highlighted that the event as a whole was enjoyable because of all the learning opportunities it provided.
“I just think it’s really important because most students are away from home and they don’t really know, and Salisbury is an unfamiliar place,” Barbosa said.
“We were just trying to have the first step in the door to bring awareness and to provide opportunities for them to learn more.”
By CAROLINE STREETT
Gull Life editor
Featured Photo: Residence Life gathers with local community at The Quad (Emma Reider images).