Student Government hosts ‘Emergency Medicine Week’

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Photo Credit: Sarah El-Zein | Daily Texan Staff

To raise awareness of emergency medical resources and advocate for more life-saving measures on campus, the Student Government Safety Agency is hosting its first Emergency Medicine Week.

Jason Taper, SG Safety Agency director, said the agency will be posting on social media about UT alcohol amnesty policies, the new sobering center downtown and student opportunities in the medical field from Sept. 24 to Sept. 28.

The agency will be partnering with Humans of the Forty Acres, HealthyHorns, the Austin Sobering Center and the UT American Medical Student Association to promote these causes.

“I figured that if I’m going to put my time into Student Government, I might as well do something that matters,” Plan II senior Taper said. “Something that has an actual impact on people’s lives — literally.”

While SG hosts a yearly Campus Safety Week to raise awareness of UT’s safety services and campus resources, Taper said Emergency Medicine Week will specifically be focused on promoting safety in campus emergency medical situations.

“I feel like people shouldn’t take emergency medical safety on campus for granted,” Taper said. “It needs to stay in the campus conversation, and I thought that promoting these causes on social media and partnering with all of these organizations would be a really good way to do that.”

Anthony Liu, Longhorn Emergency Medical Services’ chief of operations, said the agency will also be advocating during the week for a dedicated group of emergency medical technicians who are responsible for responding to 911 emergencies on campus.

“Our goal isn’t necessarily to designate Longhorn EMS as the first response organization,” exercise science senior Liu said. “Our goal is to have the administration talk to us, so we can have open dialogues about what we can do to create a corps of emergency medical technicians on campus.”

In September 2017, Longhorn EMS, an organization of student certified EMTs, failed to get legal liability and insurance funding from the University. After raising awareness of the organization through Emergency Medicine Week, Liu said he will be making a similar proposal to the administration again this year.

“The end goal is just to get some sort of system going,” Liu said. “It can be a third party EMS or UT can hire their own EMTs, but we just want UT to agree to something instead of just doing nothing.”

Sarah Boatwright, SG director of communications, said she hopes the week will serve as reminder for the older students on campus about the safety resources they were introduced to as freshmen. Boatwright said the goal of the week is to start a dialogue about what safety looks like at UT and what everyone can do to improve it.

“After this week is done, I really just hope that students will have a better understanding of what their resources are when something bad happens to them,” Plan II junior Boatwright said. “Everyone’s affected by the resources that are available to them when something bad happens.”