Fall safety fair highlights resources, emphasizes environmental safety

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TPN File Photo

An emergency blue light phone on campus.

By Chelsea Adinuba, For The Pitt News

Julia Patterson, a senior nursing major, attended the fall safety fair and said she is glad to see the University demonstrating a broader definition of safety including environmental and exercise safety.

“I do think that they have more environmental stuff than they did last year,” Patterson said. “I feel like in past years it’s been more of like, you know, what you typically think of safety, like Pitt police coming to talk and stuff like that, but I think we’re broadening our idea of what safety is and how we can implement it in different areas of life.” 

Hosted by the Student Government Board and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety Tuesday at the William Pitt Union plaza, the Fall Safety Fair aimed to educate students, faculty and staff about safety resources and healthy habits at Pitt. Students who attended walked from table to table to learn more about Pitt’s safety efforts, while also gathering a variety of safety tools such as condoms and Narcan.

A variety of organizations sent representatives to the fair including Pitt police, the Nursing Student Association, the Allegheny County Health Department, Student Health Services, the University Counseling Center, Sexual Assault Facilitations and Education and many others. 

Krista Devane, a senior nursing major, said she hopes to take advantage of the different exercise and environmental safety programs featured at the fair, including the POGOH bikes, to help promote physical health and environmental safety on campus. 

“I just went to the table with the bikes and those are a new thing they’ve incorporated this year,” Devane said. “I think they’re like free for students, which is super nice — I have not taken advantage of that and I should.”

FA Station Square, an organization focused on climbing and fitness, also attended the fair to showcase newer aspects to safety, such as safely maintaining physical health. Emily Roan, a manager at FA Station Square, said it is important to safely introduce people to physical fitness. 

“I’m very passionate about the climbing industry, and just being able to introduce a sport to folks that might not see a sport in their K-12 system or even their college system,” Roan said. “ So, our mission at FA climbing and fitness is to make a climber out of everyone. I attended this fair so I could share the love of climbing with all.”

Some students said they wanted the fair to include more information about sexual assault safety. Patterson said she wishes the the University provided more insight about how it is preventing sexual assault on campus.

“I don’t know exactly what Pitt’s doing about it, but I wish they were a little bit more transparent about what they’re doing to prevent this and take action against it, because all I’m hearing about is that it’s happening — okay, now what?” Patterson said. 

Devane said she also wishes there was more “follow-through” from the University in terms of sexual assaults. 

“I think they have good intentions,” Devane said. “I don’t think things are always followed through or followed up on, I think that’s my big qualm with it, and we’re both women on campus and I feel like there’s been way more sexual assault notifications lately, and I don’t know the cause of it.”

SAFE, an organization of trained peer educators who discuss topics such as relationship and sexual violence, supporting survivors, consent, interpersonal communication and bystander intervention with fellow students, also ran a booth at the event. Alexa Miller, a SAFE organization member, said many students are not aware of where to go in cases of sexual assault.

“If people know where to go and how to react to someone reporting, then that helps everyone,” Miller, a junior gender studies major, said.

Julia Vroman, a peer educator at SAFE, said raising awareness about sexual assualt safety is important to her. 

“At least to us, to myself specifically, like sexual assault, violence and … relationship violence in general has played a big part in my life, so I feel like getting resources out there and making sure other people stay safe is why it’s really important to me,” Vroman said. 

Vroman said overall she does feel safe on campus and appreciates the University’s effort to promote campus safety through initiatives like the fall safety fair.

“I feel pretty safe here,” Vroman said. “I have good resources from this job and coming to these fairs.”

Miller said she believes feeling safe on campus is needed in order to get a quality education.

“I think if you don’t feel safe, you don’t learn as well and your health isn’t as good,” Miller said. “I mean, we’re here to get an education, so if that’s not there then it doesn’t make sense.”