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CHANT Safe is a new approach to student safety

August 29, 2019
CHANT Safe is a new website that houses safety information for students.Madeline Filling is a senior communication major who helped develop the CHANT Safe website.Lee Carter is the director of the LiveWell Office at CCU.

A one-stop shop.

That’s what a team of Coastal Carolina University students, staff and public safety officials have created to make sure students have a place to go in times of need.

It’s called CHANT Safe, and it’s a virtual space that brings together all of the many resources CCU has available for students who may be experiencing a crisis.

“We wanted to make sure that students not only knew how to stay safe in our community, but also how to get help if they ever are in a crisis situation,” said Lee Carter, director of the LiveWell Office. “We knew we had these resources, but we were getting feedback from students that sometimes it was difficult to figure out exactly where to go for what.”

A team was created to try and rectify this situation, and the team included eight students, who provided feedback on the idea and eventually helped create the website.

The student perspective was crucial and valuable throughout the creation and implementation process, and the students involved were surprised at how much their input was received and put to use.

“I had more input on development than I thought I would,” said Madeline Filling, a senior communication major. “The professionals on the committee really valued what the students had to say, and it was really refreshing being able to offer perspective that was taken into consideration when developing the site.”

Filling helped narrow down what elements of safety are important to students, and she read through the narrative the committee members came up with to see if it was written in a way that would be understood by students.

“I think this website will be beneficial for students,” Filling said. “In today’s culture, safety is an important topic of conversation, and being able to provide a streamlined and efficient way for students to receive vital information in time of crisis can only be helpful. As a student, knowing I have this website available is more reassuring than anything else.”

Victim services coordinator with the Department of Public Safety Beverly Wilhelm was involved with the creation of CHANT Safe, as well. She said she had been receiving feedback from students that there was a need for clear, consistent communication about campus emergency resources, but she was also hearing something more personal.

“I, personally, heard a message that resonated with me in my role as the victim services coordinator of, ‘How do I get to know you?’” Wilhelm said. “Students I interact with have taken the steps to report to campus police, and I serve as that communication link between the officer or investigator and that student. The development of CHANT Safe allowed us to articulate the specific functions a victim services coordinator could provide at a time of personal crisis.”

Upon navigating to the site, coastal.edu/chantsafe, a prominent button displays that students can click or tap if they are currently experiencing a crisis that will lead them through a series of questions to determine what kind of help they are in need of. Crisis topics include sexual violence, drugs and alcohol, stalking, harassment, hate-related crimes, and others.

Anyone who uses the site remains anonymous, and there isn’t a way to identify students who use the site to access safety information, said Carter.

In addition to the emergency information, CHANT Safe also includes general safety information about ride sharing, personal safety, Step UP/bystander intervention, armed aggressors, and severe weather. Students can even use the site to submit an anonymous report regarding crime or suspicious activity on campus that is sent to the investigations division of Public Safety.

Having all this information in one place simply makes it easier for students to get the help they need when they need it on a platform that is the most familiar and accessible to them.

President David A. DeCenzo emailed the student body about the new site on Aug. 20, but there are other plans in the works to make sure students know about CHANT Safe.

Carter plans to educate students during large-scale events like Prepare-a-thon in September, Parents Weekend in October, and other LiveWell events like Sexual Violence Awareness Week and Fall Stresstival.

“Our hope is that this website is somewhere students can go for safety information that is easy to navigate and comprehend before, during, or after any situation that might arise,” said Carter.