Thursday February 15, 2018

Collaboration to Promote Safety and Awareness: International Campus Safety Advocate Training

The Center for International Programs (CIP) and Public Safety at the University of Dayton (UD) are joining together for the first International Campus Safety Advocate (ICSA) Training. The goal for this training is for students to interact with the University of Dayton Public Safety Department in an inclusive, safe and informal environment to learn more about University, State and Federal laws.  

Public Safety is a long-standing partner of the Center for International Programs, ensuring international students feel welcome and safe on campus. “We felt that we have done a lot of work in student orientations to introduce public safety, and it was time to expand those interactions. The ICSA Training program is an opportunity to empower students to spread the message of campus safety, farther than what can be done alone in student orientations,” shares Suzanne Richardt, Assistant Director of International Student Scholar Services (ISSS) at the CIP. The partners of the ICSA program have designed this program to facilitate an open door communication policy between Public Safety and International Students, and to share practical safety skills and knowledge with international students.

Tim Kao, Director of ISSS explains that “safety is more than just a set of rules; it's a type of knowledge, awareness, and language. And like any field of study, it must be taught and experienced to be truly understood. How we come to understand safety in the U.S. is not necessarily the same in other countries. Moreover, the topic becomes more complex when cultural and linguistic dynamics are included.” This new initiative aims to address safety issues in the US and common challenges experienced by international students.

The ICSA pilot program is comprised of a series of four small group, hands-on, interactive workshops throughout the Spring 2018 semester; Introduction to Public Safety, Traffic Laws and Street Smarts, Landlords and Housing Issues, Open Discussion and Closing. Miami Valley Fair Housing, UD Community Standards and Civility and UD Housing and Residence Life are invited as guest speakers to deliver presentations throughout the series. Suzanne emphasizes that “this is not just a class, this is a hands-on active learning program.” She shares that one of the activities will allow students to go outside and experience a simulation of a traffic stop.

For this initial launch phase, the CIP and Public Safety are taking a proactive approach by first working with student leaders. the presidents from each international student organization sent a member from their organization to participate in the program, resulting with 10 Safety Advocate representatives.  Suzanne commented, “we have observed that students often feel more comfortable going to their friends to seek information. We decided to use this opportunity to provide international student leaders with the necessary information, so that they can be a valuable resource to each other or they are able to direct their peers to a different resource.’ Each student will also receive a certificate at the end of the program.

Future ICSA workshops will allow any student to be a participant in the program, and will incorporate even more challenging topics to engage meaningful discussion. Suzanne shares, “the success of the program is supported by the energy and involvement from the students and campus partners.”

For more information, contact the ISSS Office at isss@udayton.edu.

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