By Nicole Gittleman
Student Government President
In light of recent events affecting our community, Student Government announced a new initiative on campus to help foster safety and vigilance among students. During the week of October 6-9, Student Government partnered with various campus organizations to host SHU Safety Week. It was designed to educate our Sacred Heart family about how to prepare, prevent and plan for emergency situations.
In August, a SHU student was hit and killed by a car while walking to campus, and a week later a SHU coed was assaulted off campus. Considering those incidents and a few others, it made sense to us to go beyond the initial plan to promote the new SHU Safe app through a global email. Hence, SHU Safety Week 2014 was born.
Each day of SHU Safety Week 2014 was connected to a particular safety theme. These included sexual assault prevention, social media safety and on- and off-campus safety. Each day a handout with tips and facts about how to become more aware and vigilant was made available to the campus community.
Some of the week’s activities included a demonstration by Theatre Arts Program students dressed as superheroes on how to download the SHU Safe app; the “It’s On Us” pledge board presented by Greek Life students in support of the national anti-sexual assault campaign; a self-defense course for women; a Victim Vigil to pray for sexual assault victims; a safety tips contest via social media; a video with safety tips presented by SHU student-athletes; and a campus-wide test of our Emergency Alert System.
A highlight of the week was a visit from special guest speaker, Gail Hand, who is an expert on social medial safety. Before a large crowd of students in the Edgerton Center, she discussed the dangers of posting certain things online and of using certain apps such as Yik Yak.
SHU Safety Week caught the attention of area news station and local politicians. Most importantly, though, we hoped it would catch the eyes of our students. As a result of this week, we believe that our students are more educated about safety and more prepared should an emergency occur. Public Safety does a great job of protecting our students to the extent that they can, but even more was accomplished when they joined forces with Student Government and many other campus organizations in this week-long effort. Student Government hopes that this week was a big step forward in creating a culture of safety at Sacred Heart. We can’t always stop unfortunate events from happening, but we be as prepared as possible.