One of the many changes that can come with starting college is living on campus; and that can come with some pretty big challenges. But luckily for students at Westfield State University, safety isn't one of them. That's because Westfield has recently been named the fourth safest college town in Massachusetts and ranked 27th in the nation, according to a recent report by SafeWise.
“With a prioritized commitment to the safety and security of our students, we take great pride in our campus safety,” said President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D. “We are fortunate to be located in a safe, residential area of a small city in Western Massachusetts. ”
It's this small-town feel that contributes to Westfield's ranking. Both students and faculty members come together in order to play an active role in keeping campus safe. Groups like STAT (Student Threat Assessment Team) and ERT (Emergency Response Team) meet each month to review reports and discuss community concerns. Members also receive Incident Command Training and help prepare procedures in case of an emergency.
There is also the Counseling Center which provides on-call help Monday through Friday. Each licensed staff member is trained to to help provide aid during a crisis situation but is also available to assist students with individual needs, such as substance abuse issues or provide mental health screenings.
Another big factor that helps keep Westfield State safe is the Department of Public Safety. Made up of 13 commissioned officers, plus more institutional safety officers, the department is responsible for providing campus security. They also work throughout the year on crime prevention programs such as Active Shooter/Workplace Violence, Clery Reporting, and RAD (Rape Aggression Defense). These workshops offer training, demonstrations, and advice on how to prevent crimes as well what to do once a situation occurs.
These resources may help with Westfield State's ranking, but just like with everything else, it's the people that truly make us among the safest communities in the nation. Through organizations, health fairs, charitable work, and more, the students and faculty have proven to be a caring and passionate group dedicated to creating an environment that everyone can enjoy.
To find out more about safety measures and what you can do to prevent crime, visit: http://www.westfield.ma.edu/offices/department-of-public-safety/campus-safety-overview