Shaniah Garrick

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University hosted its first Campus Safety Week, Sept. 16-20, during National Campus Safety Awareness Month, amid growing safety concerns after a student was sexually assaulted and robbed last semester near the Campus Walk apartments.

Shelia Burkhalter, vice president of student affairs, said the school wanted to demonstrate to the Winthrop community that leaders are listening to comments and concerns about campus safety.

A number of groups partnered to host the events, including Campus Police, Residence Life and Student Affairs.

Burkhalter said the issue of safety came up at a number of meetings and campus leaders felt more could be done to promote it.

“It came up in senior leadership (meetings) on-campus, that we probably should be doing a lot more,” said Burkhalter. “One, doing what we are already doing, as related to campus safety, but then two, really listening to not only our students, but our faculty and staff with regards to their concerns around campus safety.”

campus safety poster
Flyers promoting daily safety events were posted around campus (photo: Winthrop).

Flyers promoting the daily events were posted around campus and email reminders were sent to students, faculty and staff.

Some of the events included a presentation on how to survive an active shooter event, a “hands-only” CPR class and an interactive safety trivia game.

There was also a safety Bingo game, including prizes and candy, which was intend to engage students, share safety tips and make campus safety personnel, such as Campus Police, available for questions.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone on our campus is going to be as safe as possible. This is a campus-wide event and this is only the beginning. We are trying to do things that will be on-going throughout the academic year, ” said Rosie Hopkins-Campbell, coordinator of campus wellness services.

There were also a number of smaller events during the week that were hosted in residence halls.

“They made it aware that stuff is going on in our college and they can’t stop everything, but we want to make sure you know the safety rules and how to approach things if you get into certain situations,” said sophomore Del Marie Wilson, who attend a presentation on the dangers of drinking and driving in her dorm.

This event was a proactive way to address safety concerns and let students know that campus leaders are listening, said Burkhalter.

She said students can expect to see more safety events in residence halls throughout the semester.