Safety Fair supplies students with knowledge

It’s the one food college students thrive on: microwave noodles. However, a lack of water can cause of cup of pasta to turn into a catastrophe. 

Campus Security Officer Jody Habinck did a demonstration of what happens when a student puts mac and cheese in the microwave without water. Within a minute, yellow smoke poured out. 

The microwave mishap was one of the common college accidents students witnessed at the Public Safety Fair on Thursday. 

Student Events Team Educational Entertainment Chair Sophia Lee said she wanted to host the event after noticing several fire alarms went off in her dorm community.

“I thought it was really helpful to host, especially with people who come from home that haven’t learned how to cook. They can learn fire safety so they can be safe in their kitchen without having to have the fire department come and rescue them,” Lee said. 

Another demonstration showed the consequences of pouring water on a grease fire. By pouring water on a grease fire, not only does the temperature go from 400 to 1,500 degrees in seconds, but the flames spread quickly to surrounding objects and people. The best solution is to put a lid or cookie sheet over the pot or pan to cut off the oxygen supply. 

Habinck said events like these allow students to witness dangerous situations safely. It also gives students who may have a poor perception of police a chance to engage with security officers in a positive, constructive way.  

“The reason we do events at this time of year is because some of the freshmen come from the cities where they have a negative view of law enforcement. We try to expose them and make them aware they can call on us in an emergency,” Habinck said. “We’re approachable and it shows those students a more human side of security than what they’re used to.”

The Public Safety Fair didn’t just apply to what students could encounter in the dorms. Minnesota Towards Zero Deaths (TZD), an organization aimed to reducing crashes, injuries and deaths on the roads, brought a seatbelt simulator to mimic a minimal crash and a few educational games to show the dangers of driving under the influence. 

Blue Earth County Commissioner and TZD Coalition member Vance Stuehrenberg said TZD aims to raise students’ awareness about safety. 

“We want to make them more aware before they go out and take drugs or alcohol to have them understand ‘Maybe I shouldn’t get behind the wheel. Maybe I should have a sober driver,’” Stuehrenberg said. 

Stuehrenberg had students participate in a bean bag game where students wore goggles simulating vision at .07 and .25 blood-alcohol content. A level of .07, he said, is when a student would feel “buzzed,” but is still not illegally intoxicated. A level of .25 is considered extremely intoxicated. Another game had students play Connect 4 with one student wearing goggles showing how THC and marijuana can affect how students perceive traffic lights to be the same color. 

Stuehrenberg said while the games may be fun to participate in, they should give students an idea of how dangerous it can be if they get into a car while under the influence. 

“Marijuana and alcohol affect all your daily aspects, so once they’re using, they have a better understanding,” Stuehrenberg said. 

Lee said she hopes students learned about resources around campus and the community they can utilize. 

“Besides the different first responders in Mankato, I hope the event let them know campus security is there for students if they need direct help,” Lee said. 

Students looking to get involved with campus security or campus EMTs can look under the security tab on

Photo caption: A Mankato firefighter demonstrates the danger a grease fire can cause from pouring water on it and why it is always necessary to always follow safety precautions. (Emma Johnson/ The Reporter)

Write to Emma Johnson at

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