UWF education includes safety awareness
On campus flyers, computer screens or just walking down a campus sidewalk, safety is a constant message that the University of West Florida strives to promote among students, faculty, staff and visitors. The Blue Light System. Student and campus-wide seminars. The Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D) program. Access to campus escorts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like many colleges and universities throughout the United States, UWF is dedicated to providing a safe and secure environment for all campus community members.
“Many students come out here in the real world and they’re not ready yet for living on their own,” said John Warren, chief of the UWF Police Department (UWFPD). “They have to make the transition from their home life and that’s why we have a full-time crime prevention officer who spends time in the residence halls educating our students in making that transition.”
Designed to raise awareness of on-campus security issues, the “Stay Safe, Stay Together” campaign targets complacency toward security issues and reminds the campus community that there is safety in numbers. This campaign reminds students that they should never walk alone on campus, especially at night. If students walk to parking lots or to classes, go jogging or participate in other activities, “Stay Safe, Stay Together” suggests that they walk with a friend or an escort.
“Be alert to your surroundings and don’t take your safety for granted,” said Deborah Ford, vice president for Student Affairs. “Everyone has a role in making this a safe campus. Do your part, stay safe and stay together.”
In addition to this campaign, the UWFPD offers many opportunities for the community to take advantage of their services. Emergency Blue Lights are located in all of the parking lots on campus and placed throughout the walkway areas to give direct contact with the UWF police communications center. UWFPD also offers many educational courses and seminars like the R.A.D. System, which is a comprehensive risk reduction course that also includes the basics of hands-on defense training.
“Students like the hands-on experiences of real world situations,” said Warren. “Programs and initiatives like these help people realize that they can learn to take the right steps in protecting themselves and others.”
Among several initiatives that the university is working to implement, UWF recently conducted lighting surveys and is currently focusing its attention on campus areas that need more lighting. Officers physically walked through the entire campus to these spots that need attention and also continue to check lighting daily. UWF has also worked to cut away undergrowth in certain areas to eliminate any possibility of people using them as hiding places.
“It’s a beautiful and peaceful campus and a lot of people think that it means we’re completely safe,” said Warren. “But you always have to take precautions and people have to take responsibility for themselves. Educating people to take that responsibility is something that we want to achieve.”
For more information, call (850) 474-2415 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about these programs and services, visit uwf.edu/uwfpolice and uwf.edu/staysafe.
By Megan Clark, University Marketing Communications