Campus safety is always a concern as this is often the first time that new students are living on their own. However, Minnesota State University, Mankato partners with the University Security team to create a secure environment for all who live and visit the campus.
Director of University Security Sandi Schnorenberg explained what campus security all entails and how the staff members ensure safety on all measures.
“Campus security consists of a mixture of both full-time and student employees who promote campus safety. We work with the Mankato Department of public safety very closely,” Schnorenberg stated.
Evan Olson, a student patrol officer majoring in law enforcement, joined University Security as it was an available job in his field of study.
“I got this job in the beginning of COVID, and I’m lucky it applies to my future. It was a happy accident,” Olson stated.
Security will patrol the campus by walking around and driving by to check the buildings and parking lots, as well as responding to calls of services for any degree of safety concerns.
University Security has created numerous programs in recent years for students to take advantage of, including safe walk, emergency phones, and star alert.
The safe walk program gives students and faculty the opportunity to call security and be escorted from one location on campus to the next to help them feel comfortable and out of harm’s way. To use this program, simply make a phone call to 507-389-2111.
Another popular program the security uses is the camera system. There are cameras in each parking lot and building on campus, where security patrol officers will observe footage to ensure students are sage and there is no illegal activity taking place.
“This is not meant to spy on our students, but to keep them safe,” Schnorenberg explains.
As people walk around campus, they might notice the large blue pillars spread around the university with “Emergency” written on each one. These pillars contain a phone for students to quickly contact University Security by pressing the button and sending a signal to the dispatch center.
MNSU has over 14,000 students enrolled as of November 2020, stated on the school’s website, and it can be difficult to inform each student about the events taking place on campus. To help with this issue, University Security built their Star Alert program.
With Star Alert, students and faculty will receive text messages or emails when there is an emergency on campus. To sign up for the free program, click the Star Alert tab on the University Security’s website.
Olson also pointed out the free jump-start services the University Security offers to help students when their car’s battery dies in the winter time.
Having these programs implemented is a great step towards safety, but there are other actions students and faculty can take to stay protected. Paying attention to your surroundings and being aware of what’s around you is a first step towards this.
Schnorenberg expanded on this by saying, “If you see something, say something. Too often we’re afraid to intervene in someone else’s business, but bystander intervention can be a great help to somebody who may be in trouble.”
University Security is always looking to increase their relationship with the campus community in order to gain the trust of students and faculty. To do so, security will be attending more Recognized Student Organization meetings and events.
“I want my staff to get out there and be more visible, even if it’s not necessarily in an enforcement capacity,” Schnorenberg commented.