UC Distributes Emergency Cards

This semester, students are being provided with new emergency cards which aggregate the contact information for multiple resources in one place.

The cards, designed to fit in a wallet or purse, are the product of an effort led by the Undergraduate Council in conjunction with the Office of Student Life. They provide quick access to contact information for emergency services, transportation services, peer counseling groups, and school offices. The cards also offer advice for staying safe while walking at night.

The Undergraduate Council hopes “to promote better awareness of safety resources on campus,” according to a statement on the UC website.

Michael C. George ’14, the UC’s Student Life Committee Chair and a Crimson editor, came up with the idea for the cards last fall after seeing a Shuttleboy card for the Harvard shuttle network.

“A lot of these cards actually already exist independently,” said George. “Alcohol and Drug Services has a card. The shuttle has a card. [University Health Services] has a card. But 99 percent of students are not going to be motivated enough to pick them all up in different offices.”

Organizations and offices listed on the cards include the Harvard University Police Department, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Harvard shuttles, the evening van service, walking escorts, Peer Contraceptive Counselors, Room 13 peer counseling, the student mental health liaison program Harvard Smiles, and the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.

Meghan J. Smith '13, co-president of Harvard Smiles, hopes the new cards make students more familiar with on-campus resources.

“They are a great idea,” said Smith. “We already give out little red cards that have similar information, but one of our goals is to reach all of the student body, not just freshmen, and this is one way to reach out to everyone.”

The emergency cards are being released just one month after two stranger rapes were reported on Harvard’s campus. Although the cards were planned last year, the two recent assaults emphasize the importance of the cards, George said.

“For freshman moving in, many of them are worried and unsure of what they should do on campus,” said George. “Getting that information to them within days of arriving on campus is really important.”

Upperclassmen received their cards with their room keys, while freshmen received the cards from proctors during entryway meetings.

Replacements can be found at the OSL, and a printable version of the card can be found on the OSL website, according to George.

—Staff writer Quinn D. Hatoff can be reached at quinnhatoff@college.harvard.edu.

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