York celebrates opening of Community Safety Centre

York University’s Department of Community Safety will celebrate the grand opening of the newly renovated Community Safety Centre and the 10th anniversary of goSAFE on Oct. 4 as part of Community Safety Week.

The event will kick off at noon at 228 William Small Centre with the opening ceremonies and speakers, including: Gary Brewer, vice-president, Finance & Administration; Janet Morrison, vice-provost, Students; Marisa Sterling, assistant dean,  Inclusivity & Diversity, Lassonde School of Engineering; and Samina Sami, executive director, Department of Community Safety.

safetycartDuring the event, which runs until 4pm, there will be guided tours, displays and a free barbecue (halal, kosher and vegetarian options available) for the York community.

The Department of Community Safety hopes to connect with the York community and work in partnership to make the campus safe. They now have a storefront Community Safety Centre where community members can ask questions and access services related to safety.

“We want to reach out and work in close partnership with all members of the York community – students, staff and faculty – to ensure that our campus is a safe place to study, work and live,” said Sami. “Our newly renovated Community Safety Centre is a storefront that community members can drop into if they have safety concerns, or if they have ideas they would like to share about how to improve the overall safety at York.”

In addition to marking the opening of the Community Safety Centre, the event will celebrate a milestone for goSAFE – a York success story where students help other students be safe. The program evolved out of the previous student security escort services, and over the past 10 years has more than doubled its number of student employees as well as significantly reduced wait times for services. The result is a more consistent and comprehensive safety service.

Student employees of goSAFE have been able to earn money to support their studies while helping their community. Several students who worked with goSAFE over the years are now full-time employees in the Department of Community Safety and in other areas of the University.

“GoSAFE is a York success story,” said Sami. “It is one of the largest programs in Canada and, over the years, many universities have approached our staff for advice on how to run effective goSAFE programs.”

A sense of safety is important to creating an environment where York community members can learn and work to their maximum potential.