Every autumn, a new wave of young students floods onto college campuses, eager and excited for the next phase of their lives and ready to explore their newfound freedom. They are not always eager, however, to consider safety and security a top priority. This poses a continuous challenge for university security leaders not just during freshman orientation, but year-round: how do you educate 17- and 18-year-old students about practical personal safety?
At the University of Pennsylvania, located in urban Philadelphia, student safety messaging is grouped into four main themes: safety and security, alcohol use, sexual assault and mental health. According to Maureen Rush, Vice President for Public Safety and Superintendent of Police for Penn, it’s essential to teach students how to have fun safely, which includes learning street smarts, utilizing security escort programs, understanding the medical amnesty policy around alcohol use, knowing which resources are available for students in need, and how to be a good bystander – or as Rush puts it, “a good Penn citizen.”