Willie Young, senior director of Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services, shows a student how to use a window alarm. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State

The Department of Public Safety and the Office of Student Life Recreational Sports teamed up on Friday to host “Buckeyes Be Prepared,” a safety resource fair held in the RPAC showcasing live self-defense demonstrations and safety resources offered on campus.

As the first student safety resource fair at Ohio State, it highlighted different safety programs and student organizations, including Student Safety Service, Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services, the Undergraduate Student Government Health & Safety Committee and the Ohio State Self-Defense Club.

The event was created as an opportunity to bring together various safety resources in a fun environment for students to become well-prepared on safety, either through mental and physical wellness programs or safety programs, said Marci Shumaker, Department of Recreational Sports senior associate director for administration and programs.

“There’s a lot of resources through both the Office of Student Life and the Department of Public Safety so that students can educate themselves and be prepared,” Shumaker said. “The more knowledgeable they are then they’re more prepared to protect themselves.”

At the fair, students participated in live self-defense demonstrations, including one taught by Detective Cassandra Shaffer, a crime prevention officer and head instructor of the Rape Aggression and Defense Program.

“The goal is for those that are interested, there’s a couple of hands-on opportunities to hopefully build some confidence and interest in looking into something that would prepare them for a physical encounter,” Shaffer said.

The demonstration taught realistic self-defense tactics and techniques, such as learning how to form a correct fist.

Eli Rubenstein, a third-year in political science and psychology, attended the fair and said the safety resources at the fair also provided safety tips.

“Don’t just be on your phone, so you can see if there’s somebody suspicious walking around the area,” Rubenstein said. “If you can, walk in groups of three. That’s what we consider a safe walking group.”

Next to the Student Safety Service table, Willie Young, senior director of Off-Campus and Commuter Students Services, handed out free window and door alarms.

Young also recommended some tips for off-campus students, including keeping doors locked at all times, being aware of surroundings and placing all belongings in the trunk of a car, leaving no valuables in sight.

The Ohio State Self-Defense Club presented basic self-defense techniques that focused on getting out of dangerous situations as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“Every extra minute you’re spending in a dangerous situation is another minute you’re risking getting injured, hurt or anything worse,” Jack Fioretti, fourth-year in biology and president and instructor of the Self-Defense Club, said.

Shaffer said the fair is taking a proactive approach to safety, getting students to think ahead before an unsafe situation happens.  

Sarah Lidonnice, a first-year in engineering, said she attended the fair for that exact reason — wanting to learn about more safety resources on campus since many of her classes end late at night.

“Safety concerns all of us here on campus. All of us are walking, taking the bus, driving or just living on campus in general,” Lidonnice said. “Safety is always a concern.”