USG event aims to raise safety awareness on campus

(Ashley Stewart/TommieMedia)
Part of Tuesday's event is aimed at informing students about emergency alert services around campus. (Ashley Stewart/TommieMedia)

To promote the usage of the emergency blue lights on campus, the Undergraduate Student Government will host an event during convocation hour Tuesday in the Upper Quad.

Senior Jena Root, USG vice president for public relations, said she hopes “Play It Safe” will bring awareness to students.

“Even though we are on a campus, we are also in the middle of a city, and danger is still possible,” Root said. “I just want students to feel as safe as possible.”

Root has been doing research with Public Safety on Tuesdays to find out how much students know about campus safety and what improvements can be made to make them more comfortable.

She surveyed 92 students, and less than half knew what the blue light system is or what color the emergency boxes are. Root also found that students feel the least safe behind Brady Education Center on South Campus and more than half of the students didn’t know the campus emergency number or had never used the escort system services.

“Campus safety is so important because I feel like students don’t pay attention to their surroundings, and I want to make sure they know what to do if they are ever put in a dangerous situation,” Root said.

Although Public Safety hasn’t had to respond to a blue light emergency in two years, all of the lights and emergency boxes work, despite rumors spread earlier this year.

“I have seen the Public Safety officers test them during my walk through, and they work,” Root said. “They are definitely always looking for ways to promote safety on campus, and they are really good about working with students.”

Some students don’t feel threatened on campus

Neither freshmen Gretchen Meixner nor Jake Monson have felt a major concern with campus security, even with two attacks last month.

“I feel really safe on campus, and I feel like I’m in a safe neighborhood,” Monson said. “I mean I see Public Safety around, and everything seems fairly secure.”

For Meixner, campus safety wasn’t a factor in her decision to attend St. Thomas. She said it was because she applied to other colleges that weren’t in safe places or cities.

Monson on the other hand feels safety is an important factor in where he attends school.

“Safety is absolutely important to me because of a city of this size,” Monson said. “I feel like it means that St. Thomas should definitely have programs like ‘Play It Safe’ offered to students on campus who want to know more.

Ashley Stewart can be reached at