Tag Archive | "campus safety"

University students gather to rock out The Red Zone

By Morganne Lenning

“We are excited to be a part of something that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.” – Isidro Yaptinshay, Manager of Lions Ambition

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Commons Friday night to hang with friends, eat free food, enjoy live music but, most importantly, to Rock Out the RedZone.

The RedZone is the first three months of fall semester when students on college campuses are at a higher risk of sexual assault. The Campus Activity Board partners with organizations across campus to put on the event to educate UWF students about the dangers of over-intoxication and what Robin Thicke calls “blurred lines.”

The beginning of the semester and a new school year means students are forming new relationships and often living in unfamiliar areas. The rush of freedom also means that some students will experiment more with alcohol. These factors create an environment that has an increased risk for sexual assault involving students.

“We want to introduce students to the department, get them some resources and really just give students a sense of community here at UWF,” Junior Adam Smith said. Smith is a peer educator with Counseling and Wellness Services.

More than an educational event, the concert brought students together with each other and various organizations around campus as part of the Argo Arrival goal.

Students threw their hands in the air to catch the freebies that volunteers threw from the second floor in the Commons while other students swayed with the live music from Lion’s Ambition, the band CAB hired to play for the Rock Out the RedZone concert.

Members of the Seattle-based rock band Lion’s Ambition, were excited to travel to Florida to spread their message to connect with different people and share aspirations.

“At first we did not know about the event’s cause,” said band manager Isidro Yaptinshay in an e-mail interview.  “However, we were happy to find out about the event’s purpose. We are excited to be a part of something that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Laughter and good vibes radiated from live music and the audience as senior Naomi Eustache said, “I think it was a good turnout. I like the band a lot.”

The Rock Out the RedZone event was aimed at educating students about protecting themselves and each other from sexual assault, and students walked away with great memories and a new perspective on the RedZone.

Sophomore Trent Durham was not sure what the RedZone was before coming.

“Someone just told me there is an event going on in the Commons,” Durham said. “I think it’s important to raise awareness because if students are aware of what things can happen, then less incidents of sexual assault will occur.”

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SGA discusses health, safety programs

On March 2, the Student Government Association discussed proposals for a SafeRide Program and a tobacco-free campus.

Lindsey Greeson, coordinator of health promotions for Counseling and Wellness Services, presented a SafeRide Program proposed by the Campus Alcohol Coalition. With funding, it will be implemented for the fall semester.

The objectives of the program are to facilitate transportation for University of West Florida students whenever public transportation is not available or feasible.

“It’s also to ensure safe transportation home for students visiting establishments or events in the Pensacola area,” Greeson said.

Most importantly, it will  provide transportation to students who experience an unsafe situation such as an unsafe date and are in need of safe transportation, she said.

Students using this program will be able to buy taxi-cab vouchers valued at $5 at a discounted rate of $2.

Since the SGA approved the fund request, SafeRide will serve as a pilot program and run August-April during the 2012-2013 school year.

Karen Carvero, a staff member and a member of the UWF Tobacco Task Force, proposed a tobacco-free campus, citing health, environmental and economic issues.

According to her presentation packet, UWF states on its website that several campus buildings are Leadership with Environmental and Energy Design certified, which requires a 25-foot breathe easy zone, but as it stands, this requirement is non-enforceable on campus.

“Due to some of the old construction and ventilation in our buildings, it is common to hear about staff and faculty being exposed to secondhand smoke inside their offices,” Carvero said.

The task force has also set up a free campus smoking cessation class and has given out more than 200 quit kits in an effort to help those who want to quit, she said.

UWF has received the College and University Tobacco Free Campus Policy Initiative Grant from the state of Florida, and the task force is currently drafting a new policy which promotes a healthier campus environment.

The task force has created an online petition to help implement a stricter tobacco- use campus policy. They have collected more than 300 signatures so far.

If you would like to sign the petition or learn more about the proposal, visit www.uwf.edu/tobaccotaskforce.

Christienne Cloutier
Staff Writer 

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Despite recent thefts, crime minimal

In September, three vehicles were reported burglarized while parked on campus lots. Items with values estimated from $38 to $822 were stolen from the vehicles.

In 2010, only four burglaries were reported on campus, according to the combined annual security and fire safety report compiled by the University Police Department each year. That number rose from three burglaries in 2009, but decreased from 21 burglaries in 2008.

Liquor law violations are the most common infraction on campus, followed by drug law violations, according to the report.

University Police Chief John Warren said theft is the most common crime reported on campus.

“We get fights every once in a while,” Warren said, “but not too much violent crime.”

Most thefts can be avoided by using common sense, he said. Lock your residence hall and your car. Hide valuables in your trunk before you park. Do not leave things unattended. These are only a few of the crime prevention tips suggested by the police department.

Sophomore Hillary Miller, whose car was one of those targeted last month, said that she no longer leaves anything of value in her vehicle at any time.

“We’ve had a few bicycles stolen this year,” Warren said that thieves are cutting through the lock cables and taking them.

If you ride a bike on campus, Warren recommends registering your serial number with the department. If you take it by the station, they will even do it for you, and this allows them to put the bike on a national registry.

The police department also offers an engraving tool that students can use to engrave their driver’s license number on their bicycle or anything else that can be engraved. They will help engrave it there at the police department or loan the tool to students who wish to engrave something themselves.

Regardless of the theft problems, students say they generally feel safe on campus.

“I feel pretty safe,” freshman Kristen Butler said. “It’s a little bit more than high school; it’s the adult world. I feel as safe as I do walking around the mall.”

Junior Geri Ross said she feels safe walking around campus and thinks the campus police are doing a good job with security.

“I’m glad people feel safe, but often when we feel that safe, we start thinking nothing can happen,” Warren said. “We have to use prudence. Things can happen, and they do.”

Some students are a little more wary when it comes to safety.

“I don’t like being here when it’s dark,” Junior Maggie Gordon said. “I wouldn’t go on walks or anything in the dark.”

Freshman Esther Pyon echoed Gordon’s sentiments.

“If I’m in groups, I feel safer, but if I am walking by myself, I keep a close watch,” Pyon said. “If I see someone walking behind me or shadows, I cross the road.”

“Stay safe, stay together.” That is the motto of the police department’s safety campaign, adopted in 2006. Any student who feels threatened at any time or would like an escort across campus is encouraged to call the University Police Department at 474-2415.

Students may also use one of the emergency blue lights located in 52 different areas on campus to request an escort. There is a Student Safety Escort Program in place from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., and when student escorts are not on duty, a police officer will escort any student who requests it.

“We want students to feel safe on campus,” Lt. David Faircloth, supervisor of the Student Safety Escort Program, said.

Future security plans include the possibility of cameras in public areas around the University. Chief Warren said that he is currently doing research on security camera systems and would like to see a comprehensive system in place in the future.

“I’m really excited about security cameras,” Warren said.

The combined annual security and fire safety report, available at the police department, includes several safety tips for students on campus.

Jesse Farthing
Staff Writer

 

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