URI to hold first Safety Week in advance of Spring Break

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Multiple divisions, departments to offer educational, fun programs

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 8, 2016 – Learn to use a fire extinguisher. Try maneuvering a tricycle through an obstacle course while wearing “beer goggles.” Enjoy a “mocktail” and play “Peer Pong.” Experience a vehicle rollover and pick up your URI Spring Break Survival Kit.

University of Rhode Island students, faculty and staff can participate in all of these and more as the University holds its first comprehensive Safety Week Monday, March 14 through Wednesday, March 16.

The events, which are sponsored by URI’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Student Affairs, and Women’s Center, are free and open to the campus community. The program is being held in partnership with Bystander Intervention Week.

“We live in fast-paced and challenging times, and there is a great need to present useful information to our community in a fun way as spring break approaches,” said Christiana Molinski, URI coordinator of public safety, community outreach and education and the coordinator of Safety Week. “In the past, different departments have offered their own safety programs during the spring semester, but the University has now brought many of those programs together and added new ones this year.”

Molinski said the goal is to make this an interactive program, so she is asking those who participate to post their photos, videos and comments to the hashtag #BeRhodySafe.

Roger Jadosz, a registered nurse and health educator at URI Health Services, said the campus health agency has held a safe spring break and beach party for at least the last 20 years.

“We’re ecstatic about joining with all of these groups to offer a comprehensive and enjoyable education program,” Jadosz said. “Our director, Ellen Reynolds, has been insistent that we break down silos when it comes to the safety, health and welfare of our campus community. And Safety Week is another example of that becoming the norm at URI. The more interaction students have with agencies charged with ensuring a safe experience, the better off we will all be. Our goal is to have people come to something every day.”

Rachel Dunham, assistant coordinator of URI Violence Prevention Advocacy Services, and a URI graduate who earned her bachelor’s degree in May of 2015 with majors in psychology and gender and women’s studies, is also pleased about the coordination that has resulted in such a strong program.

“A big theme of the event is bystander intervention, especially with the timing of this before spring break,” Dunham said. “The basic advice we give to students is to step up or step in when you see some red flags in people’s behavior. If you see that something is off, you can just check in to see if they are OK. Just doing that can make a huge difference.”

Dunham said students should always put their own safety first. In high-risk situations, that means seeking the help of others and calling the police.

Dunham expects one of the popular games to be “Peer Pong,” a healthy and safe alternative to the more notorious drinking game. For the game, six plastic cups are placed at each end of a table. Each cup contains a question on a small piece of paper based on safety and bystander intervention issues. Students will be given two ping-pong balls to toss into the cups. When they succeed, they will be asked a question from one of the volunteers of P.L.E.A.S.E. (Peers Learning, Educating and Supporting Everyone). If they answer the question correctly, they will win a prize.

“This is going to be fun and a judgment-free game,” Dunham said.

Here is a sample of events:

Monday, March 14,

• Bystander Intervention: What would you do? 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., booth at the Memorial Union

• Emergency Alert Registration, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., booth in the Memorial Union

• FBI active shooter video, with discussion to follow with URI Police, 2 to 4 p.m. Room 308, Memorial Union

• Fire extinguisher training, 1 to 2 p.m., Quadrangle

Tuesday, March 15, Safety Fair on the Quadrangle, 10 a.m. to noon

• Beer goggles obstacle course

• “I’ve got 99 problems, but alcohol poisoning ain’t one.”

• Drinking and driving awareness: vehicle rollover demonstration

• Peer Pong

Wednesday, March 16, Safe Spring Break Fair and Beach Party, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Atrium 2 and pool table area in the Memorial Union

• Multiple safety vendors and giveaways

• Emergency Alert Notification Testing

• Zika virus education, poster presentation by URI post-doctoral researcher Jannelle Couret on the Zika virus and other communicable diseases for students who are traveling abroad for spring break

• Mocktails and information on party drugs and sexual assault information

Pictured above

EXTINGUISHER PROCEDURES: Joshua Manfredo, URI Emergency Management specialist and Christiana Molinski, URI coordinator of Public Safety, community outreach and education, demonstrate the correct procedures for using a fire extinguisher. URI photo by Michael Salerno Photography