Earlier this week, faculty, staff, and students descended on the Benjamin West House lawn for the Department of Public Safety's fall open house. The event, held as part of September's National Campus Safety Awareness Month and which included food, an auction, and information about various campus safety resources, is part of Public Safety's effort to connect with all members of campus.
"I think you have to engage the community," says Director of Public Safety Michael Hill, who joined Swarthmore in April. "One thing about Swarthmore is that everyone kind of gets it. They understand how important their safety is and that there's shared ownership of that."
Members of the department hope the open house helps students feel comfortable coming to their offices in Ben West.
"It's supposed to be a place that people feel invited to, and they should be," says Associate Director of Public Safety Joanna Gallagher. "The idea is to get the community together and work together and say that safety and security on campus is a community effort."
Hill says this will be an ongoing part of Public Safety's message. "The biggest thing is to be able to really have that outreach," he says. "It's one of those things you can't do enough of."
Public Safety also hopes to increase its visibility with the use of technology and through cooperative work with Swarthmore community members on joint safety committees.
The open house's auction of abandoned campus items such as electronics, jewelry, and bikes raised money for the Swarthmore Foundation, whose grants support student, staff, and faculty involvement in community service and social action projects. Other organizations, including Women Organized Against Rape and the Swarthmore Police Department, also attended to help educate the campus about their services.
"It's all about the resources that we have and tapping into them and getting folks to want to participate," Hill says. "And if food and fun does it, I like food and fun."