KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Students and faculty at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, along with their neighbors, will have a unique chance to learn first-hand about the importance of disaster preparedness with the launch of ReadyCampus, a one-day preparedness campus event slated for September 30, 2013.
ReadyCampus, a student-centered initiative, is an innovative partnership between Kansas State University (K-State) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII. The event is being hosted by K-State’s School of Leadership Studies’ HandsOn Kansas State (HOKS) as part of their civic learning opportunities. Manhattan Good Neighbors is a program activity, within HandsOn that focuses on campus and community relationship building and service. Timed to coincide with the end of National Preparedness Month 2013, this initiative focuses heavily on existing resources and capabilities accessible to students by combining disaster information and social media.
The three-hour event, from 12 noon to 3 pm, will take place in a “preparedness” social media environment where students and faculty will gather at the Campus Creek Amphitheater outside of K-State’s Leadership Studies Building. There they will hear campus and community preparedness presentations, participate in an eChallenge preparedness hunt and meet student and local organization representatives active in disaster readiness and response such as campus Police and Emergency Management. They will also meet with student groups connected with the Capital Area American Red Cross, Riley County Emergency Management, United Way of Riley County, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, and Citizen Corps groups such as the Community Emergency Response Team, County Animal Rescue Team and Medical Reserve Corps.
“Emergency preparedness remains a high priority not only for Kansas State, but all higher education institutions,” said Lucy Finocchiaro with Manhattan Good Neighbors. “While the administrators of Kansas State have done a phenomenal job of caring for students in emergency situations, many students find themselves unaware of the resources available to them in a disaster. Enhancing student awareness and preparation is the next step for many universities in increasing overall emergency preparedness and we are honored to join with FEMA and our surrounding community partners in piloting ReadyCampus to assist in that mission.”
FEMA Region VII and K-State leaders recognized that preparedness messaging for students runs the risk of becoming old and repetitive, so they created ReadyCampus as a more engaging way to inform and involve students through social media by moving students from preparedness discussions to personal demonstration.
The highlight event is an e-Challenge preparedness hunt. Similar to a traditional scavenger hunt, the e-Challenge Hunt requires teams to locate and identify emergency preparedness resources from around the campus, the community, as well as their own homes.
Participating teams will demonstrate their progress by submitting their entries electronically through Twitter. Responses will be projected onto a screen visible to the general public. Teams will be recognized for their levels of achievements for participation, identified items/locations, and collaborative interactions with one another. Prizes for participating and recognitions will be presented for all levels of achievement.
“We are honored to support the leadership and student body of Kansas State University in this unique and innovative effort” said Phil Kirk, Federal Preparedness Coordinator for FEMA Region VII. “This partnership represents a whole community effort focused on delivering preparedness solutions in a practical and effective manner, one that schools across the country can hopefully replicate within their own institutions of learning.”
Beth Freeman, FEMA Region VII Administrator also applauded the efforts of K-State and its student body for taking an active and voluntary approach to bridging the gap between the academia and emergency management communities.
“FEMA Region VII has partnered with universities, schools and educational groups for many years, primarily in the areas of disaster response planning, exercise and training. This event however, signifies the first time such partnership has materialized so noticeably, primarily for the individuals served the most by these institutions – the students” Freeman said.
Members of the media and the general public are welcome to attend and observe ReadyCampus on September 30. For more information or instructions on accessing the K-State campus on event-day, contact Manhattan Good Neighbors at firstname.lastname@example.org and post questions or information on HandsOn Kansas State’s Twitter @handson_kstate #KStateReady.
To learn more about ReadyCampus or school and workplace preparedness contact FEMA Region VII’s National Preparedness Division at 816-283-7925 or visit: www.ready.gov/school-and-workplace.
Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Find regional updates from FEMA Region VII at www.twitter.com/femaregion7. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications. FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.