Almost everyone has heard the expression “Safety first!” an admonition urging people to avoid any unnecessary risks and to act to stay safe.

At The University of New Mexico, an event that started out as a simple idea to promote campus safety, has grown into a series of events designed to create awareness and provide information, and promote resources and tools for a safer campus. This year, UNM hosts its fifth annual Campus Safety Week Sept. 14 through 18.

“Keeping UNM safe for our Lobos should always be one of the centerpieces of our values here at UNM, so that we can identify areas of improvement for our campus safety needs.  Remember, the safety of our campus is always important, no matter how many people we have physically present here, as we have always had students live in the residence halls, even during these interesting COVID times,” said Rob Burford, Clery Act compliance officer, adding, “Also, we have faculty and staff who are essential to the operations of UNM that continue to be present on our campus during COVID, who continue to make this an optimal learning environment for the return of all of our Lobo Family, once this pandemic is under control.”

"Keeping UNM safe for our Lobos should always be one of the centerpieces of our values here." – Rob Burford, Clery Act compliance officer

The pandemic has changed the usual format of Safety Week.

“We are scaling this back a great deal this year to be respectful of social distancing and keeping things to small groups, and we won’t be having as many events,” Burford said. The events cover not only physical safety on campus but also online safety and mental and emotional safety.

Safety Week Schedule
Monday, Sept. 14 – Identity Theft Presentation, (Online) 5 – 6 p.m., will cover safety in social media, electronic devices and credit. This event is geared toward students.

Tuesday, Sept. 15 – Siren test at 11:02 a.m. The siren is part of a campus-wide system that provides safety, security, and weather alerts.

Tuesday, Sept. 15 – Safety Walk Main Campus, 8-9 p.m. This event provides an opportunity for participants to evaluate the safety of UNM’s Campus is after dark.  Participants will look for lighting issues, tripping hazards, and other unsafe conditions that individuals might encounter at night. Students, faculty, and staff are invited.

Friday, Sept. 18 – Safe Zone Training (online) 10 a.m. - noon. “U Got This” is your guide to speak up, step in, and create a safer campus for all. The training is an online, interactive, three-part educational program that converts interpersonal violence prevention mandates into a truly relatable and engaging experience for students. With strategic use of humor and colloquial language, the program frames the broader issue of what it means to be an “upstander” in both challenging corrosive norms and sticking up for vulnerable people. This event is geared toward students. Burford said participants will need to do some homework prior to this training.

Burford said in addition to the scheduled events, residence halls and the Greek houses will have fire drills this week, and the UNM Police will hand out cards with information about safety resources.

No registration is needed for any of the events but anyone interested can email Burford for more information. Emails will be sent about the various events.

Originally designed to create safety awareness within the campus community, the idea for campus safety week came about when Burford, along with Caitlin Henke from Women’s Resource Center, thought it was a good idea for the University to align campus safety week during the same month as National Campus Safety Awareness Month.

“We wanted to try to help our UNM community understand what we have here on our campus as far as campus safety services, plus attend to other safety topics that our campus might want to know more about,” Burford said.

For more information about campus safety and a complete schedule of events, visit UNM Campus Safety.