Keeping College Students Safe in a Changing World                         By Laura & Janet Greenwald


Spending all our time on prevention, takes attention and resources away from the very thing we know saves lives when emergencies strike Ė preparation.

If youíve watched television or have glanced at a newspaper in the last year, you know how difficult life is getting for college students.  New safety initiatives are being created at universities across the country, emergency alerts are now broadcast via text message, and campus police stand ready to spring into action. 

After the shootings at NIU and Virginia Tech and natural disasters like the Union University tornado, who can blame them!   Behind every action taken, is the desire to keep students and faculty safe in the event of any conceivable emergency.  Itís the desire to get their students back to focusing on hitting the books and having fun, instead of fighting for their lives.

Everyone agrees that college campuses have had more than their fair share of emergencies the last few years.  The more tragedies happen, the more our attention becomes focused on preventing them.  

But the truth is, as hard as we work to accomplish that, sometimes itís just not possible.  You canít stop hurricanes from occurring, build a tornado-proof dorm, or prevent every wildfire, power outage or dorm theft.  And as much as they try, even the most comprehensive security and rigorous mental health programs canít always prevent senseless violence from occurring.    

Spending all our time on prevention, takes attention and resources away from the very thing we know saves lives when emergencies strike.   


The final piece of the puzzle! 

Some innovations have been wonderful.  For example, broadcasting emergency text messages to studentís cell phones has been a huge breakthrough in campus safety.  Think of the lives it saved during the NIU shooting. 

But emergency text messages only tell students whatís going on and how to get themselves to safety.  They donít help students who are injured in the crisis, or give the students affected by it, the tools and support to pull their lives back together in the days and weeks that follow. 

Preparation may not get as much attention as shiny new disaster prevention initiatives.   But when disaster strikes, preparation will enable students need to be able to find and retrieve their vital information, whenever and wherever they need it.   

The more self-sufficient students are in time of crisis, the more resources universities will have available to aid the students who need it. 

Being prepared for any kind of emergency, leaves students free to learn and enjoy their college experience, knowing that no matter what happens during their college career, theyíll have the tools they need to function without assistance in an emergency, until all life-safety systems are once again up and running.

Keeping your students safe isnít up to the university, itís up to YOU! 

Reviewing your preparation is just ONE way to keep you and your college student safe.  We have many more...

How about Grab it and Go Forms to capture your student's medical history, insurance, financial and vital documents, that can be filled out by hand, or by computer, secured and ready whenever you need them?  Or customizable emergency action plans, dorm inventory, tips, checklists and  printable wallet cards.   Check out Don't Lose All Your Stuff At College - Parent Edition.




Laura and Janet Greenwald, are the founders of The Next of Kin Education Project and Stuf Productions.  The mother & daughter team were not only instrumental in enacting three Next of Kin Laws in California and Illinois, but created the Seven Steps to Successful Notification System, which teaches quick, easy, next of kin notification skills for trauma patients to hospitals like Dallasí Methodist Medical Center. 

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