U launches Emergency Preparedness Web site

The site offers advice on topics ranging from severe weather to walking home alone at night.

by Amber Kispert

The University has worked hard to provide students with safety measures, first with safety alerts, then the TXT-U emergency notification service and now with its Emergency Preparedness Web site.

on the web

To watch the one-stop resource for safety and preparedness information and a safety video, go to http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=QSaFaZwXNzw.

In honor of the site’s launch, University police and the Minnesota Student Association held a safety-awareness event Monday on the Washington Avenue Bridge.

University Relations, University Services and the Academic Health Center teamed up to design the Web site, a resource for information about how to be prepared and stay safe on campus.

Site offerings range from the University’s severe weather plans to personal safety tips for students walking alone at night.

Ann Freeman, director of internal communications for University Relations, said the site will provide students with an easily accessible resource.

“Students, faculty and staff can have information about things that they can do to be prepared in the event of any kind of emergency, all in one convenient spot,” she said.

The preparedness site, alongside other safety measures, rounds out the University’s current safety-related offerings.

“It’s one of many different tactics,” she said. “One of our strategies is that we want to find many, many different ways to help people know how to be prepared.”

At the event, wallet-sized emergency contact lists and emergency whistles were distributed.

MSA President Emma Olson said she recognizes the importance of safety on campus, noting it is one of the student government’s greatest concerns.

“We want to do all we can to make sure students are aware of on-campus options to increase their safety,” she said.

While the new site was introduced with much fanfare, some students remained skeptical of its usefulness.

Jenna Krause, a senior studying English and Spanish, said she doesn’t see the harm in the site, but doesn’t clearly see its benefits, either.

There’s not much incentive to see information that’s mostly common sense online, she said.

“I don’t know how many people will actually check it,” Krause said. “We’re lazy college students.”

University police chief Greg Hestness said his department wanted to partner with MSA to help raise awareness among students.

“It allows us leverage to share some personal safety messages for our students,” he said.

Since last year, there has been an 11 percent decrease in crime on campus.

Eighty-five percent of on-campus crime is theft and can be prevented, Hestness said.

“Students need to be aware of their surroundings, especially after dark,” he said. “Don’t zone out with the iPod or phone.”

Continuing to tout student safety, MSA is holding a self-defense seminar today from 6 to 9 p.m. in Nicholson Hall.

The seminar will feature Feminist Eclectic Martial Arts instructors who will educate students on how to avoid and escape attackers.

Christina Langsdorf, one of the instructors, said the event will focus on teaching students to trust their instincts and be observant.

“Students need to be a little more aware as they go through their daily routines,” she said. “It’s about being aware of where you are; if something doesn’t feel right, trust that.”