March 13, 2019

Value of Campus Emergency Management
Download the report.
Defining the Value of Campus Emergency Management Programs to Communities
Today, we are happy to share with you our most recent emerging issues forum report, Defining the Value of Campus Emergency Management Programs to Communities (PDF). At its most fundamental level, emergency management is a managerial function responsible for creating a framework that helps communities reduce their vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters so that those communities are safer and more resilient. Institutions of higher education (IHEs), like many communities, are vulnerable to a variety of hazards and frequently must cope with emergencies. For them, the work to identify and mitigate those hazards, as well as prepare for, respond to, and recover from various natural, technological, and human-caused incidents often falls to in-house emergency management programs.
On October 19, 2018, a group of campus safety leaders and subject-matter experts, with support from the National Center for Campus Public Safety, gathered in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a one-day forum to discuss ways to define emergency management's value to the whole community. Fifteen emergency management leaders, including university and college emergency managers, chiefs of police, and campus safety administrators, came from 13 IHEs across the country to participate. To achieve the purpose of the forum, they followed an agenda that included:
  • Identifying the roles and responsibilities of emergency management departments today
  • Discussing IHE awareness of those roles
  • Articulating emergency management teams' visions for the future
  • Identifying where emergency management departments are falling short
  • Drafting a value statement for senior IHE leaders
  • Developing recommendations to address some of the challenges emergency management programs face in communicating their value to communities
Working with an experienced facilitator, forum participants identified specific strategic challenges and evaluated potential solutions for sustaining interest, improving visibility, and improving strategic alignment that may help define the value of campus emergency management to communities. Participants also created a list of value-critical elements, key items they felt were critical to developing value propositions, and drafted three value statements that campus emergency management teams can utilize to communicate their value to their communities:
  1. "The value of EM to IHEs is improving organizational agility. Collaborating with campus and community partners, we strive to further reduce risk and liability while preserving our brand. Ultimately, we build a culture of resilience within our campus community."
  1. "A dynamic emergency management program will serve the community, reduce risk, build resiliency, protect lives and assets, enhance reputation, promote positive change and instill confidence and trust in [insert institution]."
  1. "A dynamic emergency management program will apply a broad structure that guides institutional preparedness, mitigation response, and the recovery process in order to minimize risk. The program will leverage campus stakeholders and external partners with the goal of preserving lives and assets in order to build a more resilient institutions."
The final report (PDF) was developed from the forum discussions and intends to capture the participants' ideas, key takeaways, and conclusions. Please visit our emerging issues forums web page to see reports on other important topics.

Campus Hunger in the U.S.
In December 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students Access Federal Food Assistance Benefits   (PDF), a review of 31 U.S. studies published since 2007 that contain original, direct estimates of food insecurity rates among college students. The report examined: 1) what is known about the extent of food insecurity among college students and their use of the Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); 2) how selected colleges are addressing student food insecurity; and 3) the extent to which federal programs assist college students experiencing food insecurity.
A college education has become accessible to more lower-income Americans due to investments by the federal government in grants, loans, and work-study programs, but these funds do not typically cover cost-of-living expenses and basic needs leading to issues such as food insecurity and homelessness. Students that experience food insecurity may also experience decreased academic performance, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other negative mental health indicators. Any of these obstacles may lead to an increased drop-out rate. For students, having a low income was the most common risk factor for food insecurity and most have one additional risk factor associated with food insecurity, such as being a first-generation college student or a single parent.
The GAO found that almost 2 million at-risk students who were potentially eligible for SNAP did not report receiving benefits in 2016 after analyzing data from the U.S. Department of Education. College students enrolled at least half time, however, are generally not eligible for SNAP benefits unless they fall into certain categories designed to more narrowly target students in need of assistance. Some state SNAP agencies reported that they are taking steps to help students access SNAP by conducting outreach to colleges and developing guidance. Yet, of the 14 colleges the GAO contacted directly about food insecurity, college officials at nine indicated that:
  • Students said that they were unfamiliar with or did not fully understand SNAP's student eligibility rules
  • They would like information from FNS to better explain SNAP student rules, but FNS has not made such information easily accessible on its website
  • FNS does not share examples of actions taken by other states to help eligible students access SNAP
Colleges and universities are doing their best to fill the gap and address food insecurity on campuses. At the University of Vermont, the Center for Health and Wellbeing created the Food Insecurity Working Group in fall 2016 to explore experiences of food insecurity in the campus community. The group has conducted two surveys about food insecurity on campus, will launch a Swipe Out Hunger campaign in spring 2019, and is working on the implementation of a campus-wide food pantry.
Additional resources on student hunger and food insecurity are available from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. Use the search term "food insecurity" in the search bar to retrieve research, websites, and more.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Reunification Planning: The Next Step
Organization: National Center for Campus Public Safety
Date: March 19, 2019 at 2:00 PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: Police Recruitment and Retention: The Best Practice Insights You Need
Organization: National Police Foundation
Date: March 20, 2019 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Registration fee
Title: L0363 Multi-Hazard Emergency Management for Higher Education
Organization: Sweet Briar College
Dates and Locations:
  • April 30, 2019 - May 2, 2019 in Sweet Briar, VA
  • May 14-16, 2019 in Bismarck, ND
  • Other dates and locations available
Fee: Free

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

Virtual Professional Development
Through our Virtual Professional Development initiative, you can access free, online educational opportunities.
Campus Public Safety Online
Learn about our free webinar series, register for upcoming webinars, and view archived recordings on demand.
Emerging Issues Forum Reports
Download, print, and share findings from critical issues forums of campus public safety leaders, subject matter experts, and practitioners.

Have you signed up to receive our informative and timely emails?
Join Our Mailing List!

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn    View on Instagram

This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
Margolis Healy Logo