CONWAY, Ark – Next week a lot of students will be moving back in on college campuses. For freshmen, it will be the first time they’re on their own, which is why the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) police want to make sure everyone knows their safety resources.
Cameron Medley is a junior at UCA and grew up in the town of Whitley, he says he remembers feeling nervous and afraid during his first year. The same goes for sophomore Jane Nim who is an exchange student from Malaysia.
“I’m an international student so I came here alone so yea I was scared to be alone on this big campus,” said Nim.
Nim says at night she would go to the campus library to study but when it was time to walk back to her dorm she didn’t feel safe alone.
“I frequently study a lot late at night and that was one of my concerns walking across campus alone late at night so I usually call one of my friends when I’m walking alone,” said Nim.
UCA police Public Information Officer, Sgt. Michael Hopper says there are other ways for students to avoid walking alone at night.
“They can either call the police department for an escort or we also have a student organization on campus called bear patrol they can request an escort from there,” said Hopper.
With the move-in day approaching, Hopper says there are more safety measures they plan on enforcing.
“One of the most popular is our civilian response to active shooter events which we have been working with the housing [department] this week and the self-defense program we’re going to push real hard in the fall,” said Hopper.
He adds that most students forget that campus police resources extend to auto care.
“If they get to their vehicle and it won’t start for whatever reason we can come out and try to help solve that problem,” said Hopper.
But there’s one popular tool that Hopper says has caught the eye of many students, their social media app designed for notifying students and staff about safety and security on campus.
“One of the things that pushes us here is our ‘Safe @ UCA’ app. It’s kind of a one-stop for all things safety-related here,” said Hopper.
Medley says he has also downloaded the app and suggests incoming freshmen be aware of their surroundings when on campus.
“First thing is to download the ‘Safe @ UCA’ app and also keep in mind the safety plan of the building and locations of the blue lights around campus,” said Medley.