With recent events at Virginia Tech echoing the tragedy that occurred on that same campus four and a half years ago, many people in the Geneva College community are naturally concerned with the state of security on our campus. The administration, faculty and staff all take their responsibilities to the students whom God has entrusted to Geneva seriously, and we are committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which to live and learn. There are many security systems already in place, and we continually take steps to monitor and improve these systems, doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our students.
The GC Alert mass notification system is a crucial security measure we established to alert the Geneva community in the event of a campus-wide emergency. All students, faculty and staff can be notified quickly via a text message and email message that not only details the nature of the emergency, but also provides instructions on how to proceed.
To facilitate the reporting of emergencies or security concerns, emergency call boxes have been placed at the soccer complex, Reeves Stadium, the alumni parking lot and along the pedestrian walkway. Security phones are also located in all academic buildings and residence halls, and everyone on campus is encouraged to report any suspicious activity or to request an escort by security personnel if necessary. Security Officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week and, in addition to responding to issues and being available to provide escorts, they also make regular rounds of the campus, academic buildings and residence halls every evening.
An Emergency Readiness Committee has been established to monitor the effectiveness of these efforts, make recommendations for improvement and prepare for potential emergencies. Comprised of key staff and administrators, this committee meets regularly with the Beaver Falls Police and Fire Departments as well as other first-responders. And a tabletop session is held with these agencies once a year to run through mock emergency scenarios.
While the physical safety of students is a vital concern, Geneva also spends equal effort ensuring their spiritual well being. This is why we place Christ at the center of every aspect of campus life and classroom learning, why we require attendance for weekly chapel, and why all activities are designed to encourage students to strengthen their relationship with the Lord. And research reveals that we have been successful in this endeavor, as well. According to a study conducted by Christian Counseling for Colleges and Ministries, Inc. President Steve Henderson, attending a college that is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), like Geneva, “is clearly correlated to increases in nearly all measures of religious commitment.”
Praise the Lord for the many blessings He has bestowed on Geneva, allowing us to provide a safe environment in which students can both grow in faith and pursue an academically excellent, Christ-centered education. As we enter this season of the celebration of Christ′s birth and prepare to welcome 2012, please join with me in praying that His hand will continue to guide and protect the college, the students of this institution and our community in the coming year and all the years that follow.
In His name,