Safety Fair hits Boca: Highlights

Emily Bloch

FAU’s biggest Safety Fair hit Boca campus with a bang — a 10 mph impact bang that is.

The Breezeway hosted over 60 tables promoting student safety on and off campus on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There was everything from a simulation ride that gave students the feeling of a minor car crash to free condoms. At the beginning of their walk down the Breezeway, students were handed a safety passport. They were told to get eight stamps from visiting tables to receive a free lunch. That’s right, involuntary learning for food. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s fair:

Fire Extinguisher Demo
“One minute of your time! Just one minute!” FAU Fire Safety Coordinator Taff Geleta, bearing a straw hat, begged students on their way to class. Within minutes, Geleta and EMT Specialist Corey Jasper had a crowd around a grass area outside of the Social Science building, all waiting to try their hand at fire extinguishing.

The hands-on training showed students how to use a fire extinguisher correctly in case of an emergency. “If you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher and you try to fight a fire with it, you can make the fire worse,” Geleta said. “So the best thing is to learn.”

Jasper controlled the liquid propane-based fire with a hand-held remote. “It just gives them something to aim at,” he said as he encouraged students to get closer to the fire. Jasper told students over and over to aim straight, move back and forth, and finish the job. Senior political science major Alex Novikov got to try this firsthand. “I feel empowered,” he said. “It’s really cool that FAU is providing us with the opportunity to use a fire extinguisher, because I don’t think most people have actually used one in their life. They assume they know how to use it and you really don’t know until there’s a fire.”

Seat Belt Convincer
Public Affairs Officer for Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky helps strap Shanta Rahman, a freshman computer engineering major, into a ride she won’t forget anytime soon.

She hands him her glasses, clenches her palms to the seat, and lets out a yelp as she goes down the quick elevated ramp and hits the stopping point. Though it may not be the fastest or loopiest, chances are this ride held the most impact. “When I hit the surface, I squealed,” she said. “Basically, If you go over 5 to 10 [mph] in a car without a seat belt, you’re kind of screwed.”

The Seat Belt Convincer showed students how a seatbelt works when there’s an abrupt stop at 10 mph.

“You get in it, you sit down and it slides down,”  Wysocky explained. “You can feel the impact and how it locks you into place and then translate that to maybe 30 or 40 mph. Most students are surprised it’s only 10 mph.”

Planned Parenthood
“This is lube. The ladies love lube. Do everyone a favor and use it,” Planned Parenthood representative Dailienis Garcia said.

A group of male students bashfully walked away with some new goodies in tote after talking with her. Garcia said promoting safe sex on campus has received some interesting reactions. “Some people just pass by and smile or laugh when they realize what it is,” she said. “But other people have come up really interested in information.” Planned Parenthood provided students with information on safe sex, HIV/AIDS and STI facts. Their goal of the day was to get people to take a bunch of free condoms, according to Garcia. “A lot of people think ‘Oh, I’m not having sex right now, I don’t want condoms,’” Garcia said. “But eventually it may happen and you always want to be prepared and be very safe.”

Tobacco Free Campus Initiative
A large white banner laid across the group’s table — well, it used to be white.

But hints of white were close to impossible to see as the banner continued to become covered in black King Size Sharpie ink. The American Lung Association partnered with the Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, had students sign their names across the banner (which eventually had to be turned over from running out of room). The signatures showed they were supporting FAU becoming a tobacco free campus.

“So it’s not just a smoke free campus, it’s things like chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes that exhibit vapors some people may not like,” American Lung Association program manager Matthew Competiello said. He said that though the general population’s tobacco use is declining, young people’s use is increasing, particularly college students. As for its impact, Competiello calls it a huge threat. “The last thing people want to do when they graduate college is graduate with an addiction. We’re trying to support that.”

Beer Goggles
Walking a straight line isn’t always easy.

“I thought I was walking straight, but I wasn’t, said Rochelle Anderson, sophomore biology and exercise science major. “It was kind of extreme.”

Anderson took off her beer goggles, which simulated being drunk, after trying to follow a taped line on the floor, only to realize she was off by about a foot. “It is an eye opener,” Anderson said. “I never want to get that way because it took me completely off balance.”

FAUPD Community Service Officer Lee Chamoff talked about other things the beer goggles table had to offer. The FAUPD provided students with bike registration, information on women’s self-defense classes and ways to contact the FAUPD about personal issues. “We’re making sure everyone’s aware of what the police department on campus can offer students.”

The Ultimate Reward
After students checked out the exhibits down the Breezeway, about 30 students finally made it to the last table.

A two-table-long spread of free pizza, sandwiches, cookies and sodas was presented to any student who got eight stamps on their passport. And to students like Fritzana Alincy, junior psychology major, the experience was worth the reward. “I think the event is nice and very helpful,” she said. “I found out things I didn’t know.” The Seat Belt Convincer was Alincy’s favorite. “It made [me] realize that I really need to wear my seatbelt more often.” It definitely seems like a free meal and T-shirt were good incentive. “The food helped get people to do the event,” she said. “It encouraged me to do it.”