Formally known as Ally Initiatives, SPEAK UP, or the Social Justice Programming for Engagement, Action, Knowledge and Understanding People, has changed their department name to better represent the team’s purpose and to highlight the new team and positions taking charge.
In addition, another motivation to changing what was once Ally Initiatives, was to differentiate SPEAK UP from the student organization, Ally Club. Ally Club is a student organization that represents students with a passion for social justice and creating a safe environment for all students on campus.
Megan Groose, the inclusion and peer outreach coordinator for the Involvement Center, oversees the SPEAK UP team. Groose has been the coordinator since September of 2016 and has continued to implement programs and advise the participating students: “I love that the SPEAK UP team is a phenomenal group of dedicated students who are creative, intentional, and passionate about creating and implementing programs related to social justice, and diversity.”
Though under a different name, the SPEAK UP team continues to develop collaborations with other organizations and departments around campus.
“We hope that more student organizations reach out to us to co-sponsor programs, or to consider co-hosting one of our Social Justice Coffee Hour programs, which began this spring and will continue into the fall of this year,” added Groose.
One of the upcoming co-sponsored events, hosted by the University Library and SPEAK UP, is happening on the first floor of the library on Tuesday, March 28 from 2-4 p.m. The event is titled, “Talk to Strangers: Speed Friending Event.” The event allows students to engage in short conversations with people they don’t know, in order to learn more about the experiences and perspectives of strangers.
SPEAKUP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uwstoutally/
Speak out for Stout – use your experience to improve Stout for everyone. All students are invited to take this anonymous, 15-minute survey about Stout’s campus climate – our working, living, and learning environment. The survey does not ask for personally identifying information or capture traceable information; more information at PARQ website (www.uwstout.edu/parq). This is your opportunity to suggest changes that can enhance the Stout climate!
We would like to give a shout out to a great student organization on campus: Stout Events Society (SES). SES will be hosting their very first Masquerade Ball this Saturday, Feb. 25 from 7-10 p.m. in Micheels Hall. The event is free for all who attend.
SES is a club open to anyone with an interest in event planning. The group helps set up, run registration, and take down events around campus. They also travel to businesses and professional organizations where their members get a hands-on experience planning for corporate events, wedding and trade shows, and even sporting events.
The club helps educate members by inviting guest professionals to speak on their experience. Hopefully, SES will continue to put on events like the Masquerade Ball in the future.
Not everyone on campus feels safe all the time. Tragedy, crime and fear are inevitable everywhere and anywhere with the passing of time. However, our campus is not without protection, prevention and defense. The university police are the force that helps make the University of Wisconsin-Stout a safe haven for all students.
“We have a police department that is dedicated to the campus community,” stated Interim Chief Jason Spetz. “I challenge my officers to get out and meet every student that they possibly can.”
It is this strong relationship, which will only continue to grow, that allows students to trust and feel comfortable around these uniformed figures, and to feel safe making an emergency call, or giving a statement.
“My [former] chief kind of coined the phrase, and I agree with it,” added Spetz, “that we look at ourselves as part of each student’s education that they’re not paying per credit for.”
Spetz is one of the many university officers striving to increase the safety of the campus by inflicting change. Some of these changes occurred prior to the start of the 2016-17 academic year. These were some of the measures taken:
- Addition of exterior cameras on campus
- Implementation of community service officer program through university police (CSO Program initiated by Spetz)
- Housing department 24-hour security lockdown
In addition to the actions listed above, the campus police also initiates an annual safety walk. The purpose of the nighttime walk is to make sure there are no dangerous areas on campus. If there is a lack of street lighting, or there is an area that requires a camera, then the university police acknowledge the need, and tend to the problem respectively.
“We are reaching out as best as we can to inform the campus community and to train the campus community to respond accordingly when they see something that just doesn’t seem right,” added Spetz.
Our campus officers are no longer the only ones with training.
Housing and campus faculty have undergone an orientation on how to react, or respond to issues such as an active shooter, workplace violence, or suspicious behaviors.
The campus police are taking action to make our university a safe place for students, faculty and the Menomonie community. And, they are not alone. They are working with every local officer, whether that be the county police, sheriff’s department, or even state troopers.
These officers are here to listen and inform us of assaults, robbery and any other type of criminal activity taking place on campus. In fact, they have gotten so good at communicating with the campus, that all of the alerts we receive make some people think that crime in Menomonie has risen. Don’t worry. That is not the case.
Both university and community police “[are] not seeing any change in the number of calls, or the things that are happening around town,” said Spetz.
If you are in an emergency dial 911. If you would like to speak to a campus officer, call 232-2222 for all non-emergency situations.
Or — if you’re completely safe and you see a campus officer, just say “hi!”