A Burning Passion For Safety

Anti-hazing, automatic defibrillators and dorm room cleanliness were a few key topics discussed at SUNY New Paltz “Campus Safety Day.”

Various departments responsible for aspects of campus safety were present on Wednesday, Sept. 17 to share information and be recognized for their commitment to the school.

Departments included University Police, Environmental Health and Safety, the Institute for Disaster and Mental Health, the counseling center and others.

Along with the physical dangers on campus, hazing and verbal abuse also present a danger to a student’s mental health.

At her table, Emily Spilman Bazinet, assistant director of student activities, spoke about the dangers of hazing on college campuses. The office wants to make students aware that hazing does not just occur in sororities or fraternities, it happens in other areas of campus life as well.

“The most comprehensive study done on college student hazing says most students already come to college experiencing hazing behaviors in high school,” Bazinet said. “A lot of the time, students aren’t even able to identify the behaviors as being hazing.”

Students set up a table in the Student Union during National Hazing Prevention Week, Sept. 22-26, to test other student knowledge on hazing and its effects.

Assistant Director of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Dave Serino, discussed automated external defibrillators (AED) and how important they are for the safety of the campus.

According to Serino, there are approximately 120 AEDs on campus and there will be training courses in the use of the AEDs, basic first aid and CPR, starting in mid-October. An email for class signups will be sent shortly.

According to Police Chief David Dugatkin, SUNY New Paltz is attempting to form a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) of student and faculty volunteers. The group is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and also had a table at the event.

“They will be trained in basic firefighting, search and rescue, traffic control, emergency medical aid and other life saving techniques in preparation for on-campus emergencies,” Dugatkin said.

These volunteers will assist the professional first responders. Training will be free and all equipment is provided. An informational meeting for the CERT team will be in SUB 62/63 on Monday Oct. 20.

Many students came to Campus Safety Day to gain more knowledge on how to be safe in their residence hall.

Jenna Pace, a fourth-year marketing major at SUNY New Paltz, came to see the burning of the mock dorm room demonstration. This event opened her eyes to the dangers of illegal items in the residence halls.

“We may think one piece of illegal furniture is harmless but this demonstration showed a ripple effect of the one item and devastating effects it can have on the residential community,” she said.

The goals of Campus Safety Day, according to Dugatkin were to “display and honor the groups and organizations that keep our SUNY New Paltz community safe.”