Safety & Wellness
The Safety & Wellness Committee serves as the primary support system for all safety and wellness related organizations, both at the University and in Charlottesville. Additionally, members of the committee actively seek to address concerns in such a way that streamlines discussion on related topics, advocates collaboration among different groups, and provides necessary resources.
Goal 1: Connect UVa students, faculty, organizations, and the Charlottesville community with safety and wellness resources and opportunities
Mental Health Resources
Our committee is currently working to compile and publicize a list of mental health resources with the situations for which they are best suited. This will allow students to better understand and access the mental health resources available to them. To make this information easily available, committee members are working to create an easily accessible web page that curates all of the mental health resources available at UVa. The web page would include a self care and mental health awareness tab, focusing on helping students take care of themselves during the stress and busyness of the school year.
University Police Department & Ambassador Dialogues
To bridge the gap between the University Police Department and students, our committee is hosting meet-and-greet events where students can interact with police officers. Students get face time with the officers and may feel more empowered to ask questions that are relevant to them in a non-intimidating environment.
Bystander Intervention Training
The purpose of this project is to revamp how bystander intervention, especially in the context of sexual assault and harassment, is taught. This revamped training will expand to all those who live in on-grounds housing, serving to give students a better understanding of strategies to intervene in situations potentially involving sexual assault or harassment.
Goal 2: Liaise between the student body and the University administration about safety and wellness related concerns.
Student Police Advisory Board
The Student Police Advisory Board will serve as a space where student representatives can bring up community concerns regarding the University Police Department (UPD). This will allow for direct communication between the student body and the UPD, allowing students and the UPD to collaborate to address and resolve concerns held by both sides.
With the help of staff such as Gloria Graham AVP of Safety and Security, Chief Tommye Sutton UPD Chief of Police, Jamie Leonard Director of the Office of Health Promotion, and Dean Dirron Allen with the Office of the Dean of Students, we work to ensure that student concerns are heard and addressed. Concerns such as University lighting or Parking & Transportation can be brought up to the committee where they will there be directly brought up to responsible parties.
Goal 3: Support and encourage safety and wellness in our University community through committee initiatives
Free Menstrual Hygiene
This project will provide free menstrual hygiene products in the bathrooms in several on-grounds buildings during short time periods, in order to collect more data on the need for free menstrual hygiene products at the University. Our long-term goal is to have the University provide free menstrual hygiene products in all bathrooms at the University.
Free Hand Sanitizers for First Years
One of the main causes of widespread illnesses such as the flu on grounds each year is the failure to wash hands before eating or engaging in other activities. To address this, hand sanitizers will be distributed to all first years for free during the month of January, the start of the flu season, to make it easy for students to keep their hands sanitized, hopefully reducing the prevalence of the flu and other illnesses.
STI Awareness and Testing
Committee members are working to increase awareness of the prevalence of STIs at UVA as well as to provide opportunities for free or reduced price testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and/or HIV at Student Health. To increase awareness, members are working with the Stall Seat Journal to publicize STI statistics in a positive way that encourages students to get tested. With regard to STI testing, members are working to put on a testing day for gonorrhea and chlamydia with the Thomas Jefferson Health District, World AIDS Day, and the LGBTQ Center.The long-term goal for STI testing is to develop a plan for implementing and funding free testing through Student Health.
Safe Talk and Walk
The current SafeRide program, while useful, often has long wait times on busy nights. This project aims to improve safety for students walking at night around Grounds and the surrounding Charlottesville area through the creation of a volunteer student escort service. Student volunteers, University Policy Officer, Ambassadors, and community members would join forces to offer escorts to students walking around at night. The escort service would also include a phone bank for students who prefer a phone call rather than an escort, or a check-in call at the end of their walk.
Healthy Habits Awareness
Prevention strategies for both short-term and long-term health, such as washing your hands and eating a healthy diet, respectively, are easy to forget or overlook in the busyness of the school year. To address this inattention to prevention, committee members are working to have individual Association Councils host dorm-wide competitions for memes or other types of posters that promote healthy habits. The goal is to spread awareness of healthy habits relating to infectious diseases and lifestyle choices.
Interested in collaborating on safety and wellness related initiatives? Have safety and wellness-related concerns you would like us to address? We are happy to help and work with you! Please reach out to the Chair, Katie Kirk.