Student welfare remains top priority at Campus Safety Awareness Fair

On Tuesday, representatives from Trinity Univeristy Police Department, Health Services, Information Technology Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Residential Life, San Antonio Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission gathered on the Coates Esplanade to host the Campus Safety Awareness Fair. Spokespeople were available to distribute pamphlets, chat with students and educate them on overall safety.

This initiative was part of Campus Safety Awareness Month, which happens nationwide during the month of September. Free candy, popcorn and hand sanitizer were distributed to encourage students to approach the representatives.

Paul Morales, campus police officer, said their priority is for students to remain safe and to be educated about dangers. He said that certain problems surface more  than others.

“We tend to look at problems frequently encountered – , problems that have arisen in the past,” Morales said. “We then attempt to pinpoint, in actual time, these problems and act.”

Morales cited issues like underage drinking and drinking and driving, violations students have committed in the past. He said that even if you do not make these mistakes, perhaps you can help a friend by reading a pamphlet and later educating them.

At a different table, Wanda Olson, director of Residential Life, agreed that student safety was “paramount.” Olson had a spinning wheel with images of various items – some that students can have in their dorms and others that pose a threat to welfare.

“Student well-being is a chief concern for Residential Life, and we want the safest environment possible,” Olson said.

According to the Residential Life website, fans, irons, coffee makers, hair dryers, clocks, and entertainment units are allowed. Toasters and hot plates are not permitted, nor are space heaters, due to the danger of an exposed heating element. A full list of items can be found on the page entitled “Residential Life Policies.”

Safety specialist Ivan Pendergast, a member of the environmental health and safety department, said the fair was about promoting different areas of safety. In particular, he mentioned awareness regarding fires.

“Fires can happen anywhere,” said Pendergast, “whether you’re in your dorm, at a party or at a club. The important thing is to know exits, because during a fire, people develop a cattle mentality and try to use the doors they’re familiar with.”

Another spokesperson was Debbie Regnemer, registered nurse of Health Services. She said that all students should obtain a flu vaccine, as the vaccine protects against three types of influenza viruses.

“Just come to the window and we can assist you,” Regnemer said. “It can take as long as two weeks to get your immunity up.”

Regnemer also said that students should act preventatively and have a “flu buddy” if they become sick. A flu buddy should check in on their friend from time to time and bring them soup, crackers or medicine. She pointed out the positive impact this can have on a student’s recovery as a morale stimulant.

Six tables were arranged around the Esplanade outside of Coates University Center, complete with a police car from the San Antonio Police Department. The Campus Safety Awareness Fair concluded the month of activities wherein Trinity University Police Department sponsored weekly events to increase knowledge about student welfare.