Universities recognize September as National Campus Safety Awareness Month, but Aggies are taking it one step further. Texas A&M has an entire safety event series going on throughout the semester that provides opportunities for students to learn how to handle emergencies on campus.
Departments around campus and the community, including University Police, the College Station Fire Department and the Texas A&M Office of Safety and Security, are participating in this campus safety awareness series. This series and A&M’s Emergency Operations Plan highlight the different systems and resources available to students that can provide help in the event of an emergency.
The most recent event in the series was a first-responders meet-and-greet where students had the opportunity to speak with and ask questions to first responders from multiple departments. The next event, National Night Out, will be held on Oct. 1.
Monica Martinez, manager of environmental health and safety at the Office of Safety and Security, said A&M is highly involved in student safety.
“We try to focus on safety outreach not just in September, but all year long,” Martinez said.
Christopher Meyer, associate vice president at the Office of Safety and Security, said students must learn about safety on campus, and it’s especially important for those who are new to college life.
“We would like to introduce students particularly to emergency preparedness,” Meyer said. “They’re living on their own. They need to do things and be aware of how to be prepared for things that might come along. They don’t have a family support structure to take care of them, so we want to introduce them to resources that are available.”
Martinez said that it is essential to offer many events in order to reach more students.
“The more that we can put out tips and opportunities for people to take away lessons on safety, then hopefully, when they need that information, then they will actually know what to do,” Martinez said.
Lt. Bobby Richardson with the University Police Department said many problems can be avoided just by paying attention.
“[Student should] always be aware of their surroundings,” Richardson said. “Always make sure they know what’s going on around them.”
According to Richardson, the main problem that UPD faces is a lack of notification on the students’ part. He said that students should immediately call if they see something suspicious.
“The biggest challenge we see is people see something going on, and they really don’t think anything about it, and they don’t notify us until after the fact,” Richardson said. “Lots of times, we don’t get calls until we issue a crime alert for campus.”
With the recent pedestrian-related accidents around campus, Richardson said it is more important than ever for students to keep their eyes on their surroundings.
“Lots of times, people are tuned into their electronic devices and they’re just not paying attention to what’s going on,” Richardson said. “I would encourage students when you’re out and about walking along the roadways, just put those devices down until you get where you’re going.”