Written by: Cole Edwards / Photo by: Ritsuki Miyazaki
There are 28 tall, yellow boxes topped with a flashing blue light around campus. The boxes have “EMERGENCY” written down the side; however, the boxes are not only there for intense situations.
“We get calls on everything from ‘my car is broken down,’ to thefts, to a student simply wanting an escort to walk them back to the residence halls from the Oak Street lot,” Chief Scott Doner, director of University Police, said.
All together there are 131 call boxes around campus. Besides the 28 free-standing boxes, there are also phones located in the elevators, residence halls and parking decks.
Any of the boxes can quickly connect you to the University Police dispatch when activated.
All call boxes are in working order and checked every month by Environmental and Occupational Safety.
Doner said that his force is able to tell which callbox you are calling from, and the police staff is well-trained for a quick response.
“It of course depends on where you are located on campus, but even if you press the button on north campus, our response time is generally just a few minutes,” Doner said. “It’s another way of providing safety and security for the campus.”
Call boxes are being added to the campus all the time, especially in the construction of new parking decks and buildings.
“We try to make sure that every elevator, every level of the parking decks and every residence hall has a call box, so no matter where you are located on campus, connection to the University Police is not far away,” Meredith Lancaster, associate director of Environmental and Occupational Safety, said.
Students don’t always have a cell phone handy or may get bad reception in some areas like the parking deck, so the call boxes offer a peace of mind around campus.
She encourages students to visit the Environmental and Occupational Safety page, under “Student Resources,” on the VSU website for a complete list of the different types of emergency phones and their locations.