Campus Safety Fair

Students speak with officers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department at Campus Safety Fair outside the Nebraska Union on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Center for Advocacy, Response and Education hosted a Campus Safety Fair to help raise awareness for safety resources at the Nebraska Union Plaza Wednesday.

Different University of Nebraska-Lincoln for students, ranging from the state of safety on campus to alcoholism awareness. 

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority life talked with students about hazing and recent sexual assault allegations that have come out about the Phi Gamma Delta and Sigma Chi fraternities. 

Devin Johansen, a graduate student assistant for the office who worked the booth, said, “We are here to share information and to have students take the pledge on anti-hazing.” 

Johansen said because there are a lot of new freshmen in Greek life, they don’t know what hazing is and what can be done to prevent hazing. Hazing is illegal in the state of Nebraska. 

With investigations into sexual assault allegations at FIJI and Sigma Chi ongoing, Johansen said the office has been checking in with chapter presidents to see how their students are doing and provide resources. 

“We’re giving [chapters] resources, like the Women’s Center and Title IX, so that people don’t feel afraid that there are no resources,” Johansen said. 

CARE could not be reached for comment prior to publication.

Ashton Koch, a senior political science, global studies and French triple major who helped work the LGBTQA+ and Women’s Centers booth, said part of the centers’ mission is to promote safer sex and sex education on campus.

“We want to be a part of the Campus Safety Fair because it is important to be mindful of safety on campus,” Koch said. 

Safer Sex Kits” were available at the booth, which included condoms and lubricant. 

The University Health Center focused on the weight of a student’s backpack and its effect on student’s health. 

“Backpacks shouldn’t be more than 15% of your body weight,” Kelsey Richters, a licensed physical therapist in the health center, said, “so we are assessing and teaching people better mechanics for carrying their backpacks or bags around campus.”

Besides physical health, other organizations focused on mental health, like Counseling and Psychological Services and Big Red Resilience and Well-Being were also in attendance. 

“For us, today is more of a way to talk about mental health services, emotional and psychological safety,” Mariah Petersen, a provisionally licensed mental health practitioner for CAPS, said. “So for us, we’re talking about ways to end the stigma of talking about mental health, having an advocate for yourself as well as how to talk to friends or family members about mental health.”

Students can make a same-day appointment for an evaluation and afterwards a counselor can provide recommendations and options for the student 

Joelle Sanger, a junior biological sciences major who helped with the Big Red Resilience table, said the resource's goal was to educate students on alcoholism, drug use and alcohol use at parties. The booth also promoted its available student services.

“We have a ton of resources on campus that can help with alcoholism,” Sanger said. “There is a whole support group that meets and well-being coaches who are other students on campus that can help you.” 

For students who are either new to campus or want to learn about the safety resources in light of recent events, the Safety Campus Fair allowed them to find different organizations that can help them. 

“I am just getting to know what the campus safety options are,” Sanjay Alamuru, a graduate student who attended the fair, said. “I heard the news about the sexual assault that happened, and I just wanted to know what the options are.” 

UNL Police Department Sgt. Nolan Conradt said he believes the campus is “fairly safe,” and if anyone feels unsafe they can call UNLPD at 402-472-2222. 

“We are a resource to any survivor, regardless of how they want to report that situation that happened to them,” Conradt said. “Whether it is a formal police report or getting them in touch with CARES or through Title IX.”

News Reporter and Copy Edtor