The UT Police Department’s Be Safe campaign is utilizing the voices of students and faculty in a series of videos now being released to promote safety on campus.
As a public relations major, UT alumna Cori Martinez was one of seven students and faculty who were featured in the first Be Safe campaign videos released last semester on UTPD’s social media accounts. Each video emphasized tips from the Be Safe campaign such as calling 911 in an emergency situation, not walking alone and being aware of one’s surroundings.
“I think it was a great way to show that students and UTPD are supposed to be in a partnership,” Martinez said. “(UTPD) is here to serve us, they’re here to help us, but we need to do what we can too to help them out.”
Cindy Posey, public information officer and creator of the Be Safe campaign, said the videos are used to increase awareness about the campaign among the UT community. More videos are set to be released later this semester.
“This past fall we started the videos because we felt like (the campaign) was just another great way to get the message out to students, faculty and staff,” Posey said.
Accounting senior Elizabeth Morgan said she appreciates that the campaign features student voices to make students more aware of crime.
“I think it’s easier to relate to someone that’s a student, and it’s cool to get information that way,” Morgan said.
While Be Safe officially began in 2015, UTPD began a more intense campaign agenda after the on-campus death of dance freshman Haruka Weiser in 2016. The Be Safe campaign has promoted campus safety through UTPD’s social media and campus signage.
UTPD is set to release a student survey later this month to gain more student insight on the effectiveness of the campaign, Posey said.
Chemical engineering junior Daniel Nikoltchev said the campaign does not seem as effective as campus safety alerts because alerts usually instill some fear in students.
“Frankly, I don’t think any safety campaign would be highly effective,” Nikoltchev said. “To get people to be safe I think you need to make them scared of something. I feel like UTPD can make an effort to do a safety campaign, but I think that the idea of a safety campaign in itself is inefficient.”
Martinez said she appreciates the Be Safe campaign because it promotes student awareness and makes students accountable for their own personal safety.
“It made me happy as a student to see that the University was taking all the measures that they possibly could to better campus safety,” Martinez said.
Even if students do not want to get involved in the Be Safe campaign, Martinez said they should still heed advice from UTPD and tips the campaign provides.
If students wish to be featured in Be Safe’s campaign videos, they are welcome to participate, Posey said.
“If any student is interested, I certainly wouldn’t turn anybody away,” Posey said. “We’re happy for anybody to participate.”