Campus Safety Week

History freshman Angelina Medellin “pepper sprays” UTPD Officer William Pieper during National Night Out in front of San Jacinto Hall on Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Students participated in a simulation of drunken driving, tested their pepper-spraying abilities and met police officers to kick off National Night Out on the San Jacinto Residence Hall plaza Wednesday.

National Night Out is a nationwide event designed to promote community involvement in crime prevention. UTPD, the Division of Housing and Food Services and other campus organizations partnered with each other to put on the annual event, which has been held at the University for the past 10 years. The event is part of Campus Safety Week, which is hosted by Student Government each year.

“In essence, it’s to get law enforcement and the community to come out together and say, ‘We’re not going to tolerate crime,’” said William Pieper, UTPD crime prevention specialist and Campus Watch writer.  

Individual National Night Out parties take place in neighborhoods across the country every year on the first Tuesday of August. In Texas, the date is moved to October because of the heat, Pieper said.

“It started out just getting neighbors to put their porch lights on, so the bad guys knew, ‘Hey, you can’t commit a crime here,’ and then it evolved to actually coming out of your house and meeting your neighbors and getting involved with the community,”Pieper said. 

Students had the chance to practice their pepper-spraying skills with training spray and experience a simulation of drunken driving by using Fatal Vision goggles, a tool used to simulate the effects of alcohol on a person’s vision. While wearing the goggles, students practiced throwing beanbags and footballs at targets to demonstrate how hand-eye coordination is impaired when intoxicated.

“It really teaches you that drunk driving is not a good idea,” said James Rauhut, a management information systems senior who volunteered at the event. 

Business freshman Allison Walker said she felt the event was a good way to build community between students. 

“I think a lot of times people in the dorms kind of stay to themselves, but this really helps people get out and meet their neighbors and other people,” Walker said. 

Campus Safety Week will include other safety events such as Fire Safety Day, Cop Day and Law Enforcement Day for students to learn more about UTPD and community policing, Pieper said. 

Applied learning and development junior Carolina Medina, who works as a resident assistant in Prather Hall Dormitory, said she thinks the event was a good way for UTPD to build relationships with students on campus.

“It really puts a face to the police department here, and you meet them and realize that they’re really fun people,” Medina said.

Richard, 5, watches as his father accepts school supplies donated by Target at National Night Out in Jasper Park on Saturday evening. The event, which was put on by student government, taught parents, students and children of the importance of community building to prevent crime.

Photo Credit: Julia Bunch | Daily Texan Staff

Training 80 percent of the student body to conduct CPR chest compressions is one of the many safety goals of John Suffredini, Longhorn Emergency Medical Services director. He demonstrated proper CPR execution Friday during the city’s tenth National Night Out at Jasper Park as a part of the kick-off for UT’s annual Campus Safety Week.

National Night Out was the first safety week event sponsored by Student Government and the University of Texas Police Department. The event covered topics of safety and security and included children’s games and activities and hosted organizations such as Longhorn EMS, University Health Services, Austin Fire Department and the UT Police Department. Also in attendance was a Target representative who gave away school supplies for students of all ages.

The event had many tables, each of which displayed topics related to neighborhood and crime awareness, children’s education and health and safety.

“Ten years ago, Austin’s National Night Out started out with one sponsor and only two people showed up,” said Darrell Halstead, UTPD Crime Preventions Unit officer. “Now, we have a great turnout of both people and university and city departments.”

Campus Safety Week will continue to address one different crime or safety issue per day, focusing on student safety. Student Government, UTPD, the Residence Hall Program Team, the University Residence Hall Association, University Health Services, Rec-Sports and Parking and Transportation will all bring events to students.

Activities for the week will include a Rape Aggression Defense System workshop, a fire safety demonstration and National Night Out, said Ashley Baker, SG vice president.

“This week is tremendously important because it is promoting safety and wellness through various different educational campaigns and awareness initiatives,” said Alisha Patel, Student Government campus safety agency director. “It is promoting all aspects, including physical, emotional and sexual safety, both on campus and in student residential areas.”

Student government chief of staff Andrew Townsell said safety is the most relevant topic for students to focus on, and many organizations joined the effort because they felt the same way.

“One of our primary objectives is to make sure students are safe,” Townsell said. “It’s one of our commitments as an administration. We have to be relevant to student life, and nothing is more relevant than safety.”

Printed on Monday, October 3, 2011 as: CPR lessons at National Night Out kick off UT safety week