Meet 3 students encouraging Blazers to stay safe, compliant during pandemic

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SHOW streamCampus safety specialists encourage students, faculty and staff to SHOW their Blazer spirit on campus to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Find one on campus for a chance to get some SHOW swag.As UAB continues its work to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, engaging students, faculty and staff in health and safety practices is critical to keeping Blazers safe both on and off campus. A group of more than 20 student employees, UAB’s new campus safety specialists, are engaging with students, faculty and staff to boost compliance with health and safety precautions through education and accountability.

They also offer an understanding why precautions are in place and how staying safe improves the Blazer community as a whole, says Vice President for Student Affairs John Jones.

“These students are providing a valuable service to our campus,” Jones said. “I hope students, faculty and staff will cooperate with the guidance these students provide and follow the example they set.”

Campus safety specialists, who can be recognized by their yellow polo shirts, are tasked with monitoring general hall safety in two of UAB’s largest academic hubs, Heritage Hall and University Hall, plus entryways to Mervyn S. Sterne and Lister Hill libraries and the flex learning space in the Education Building to help ensure Blazers adhere to social distancing, masking and cleaning guidelines. The specialists also will be present at UAB Football home games beginning Oct. 3. They are trained in peer-accountability practices, conflict management and UAB’s safety precautions and are prepared to have educational and connected conversations with Blazers who aren’t following guidelines. Specialists also can report noncompliance to Student Conduct.

jason torres insideJasson Torres, a sophomore studying foreign languages and literatures LEXI COON / University RelationsFinding that connection component is crucial, says Jasson Torres, a sophomore studying foreign languages and literatures, who believes the key to creating change on campus is reassuring Blazers that they as individuals play an integral part in keeping the community safe. He explains that his mother has asthma, so he personally is accustomed to taking COVID-19 seriously.

“Whenever I come across students and faculty who feel like it's a hassle or a chore to constantly abide by the guidelines, I reassure them that they are part of the reason UAB is staying safe,” he said. “I make sure to let them know that their being responsible is helping all of us enjoy a safer and more relaxed environment.”

And UAB is staying safe, with just 221 total student cases reported since Jan. 1, 2020. Campus Safety Specialist Dylan Jackson, a junior majoring in psychology, says now is the time to build on the work done by students and administrators throughout the past six-plus months to ensure a safe return to campus. The peer-to-peer accountability and education that the campus safety specialists provide is crucial to creating a community dedicated to slowing the spread of COVID-19, Jackson says. Each Blazer must do their part to keep themselves and the ones around us safe — by doing so, campus can remain open longer.

“When I heard about the position of campus safety specialist, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to give back to the university that has given me so much and help keep our campus safe while doing so,” Jackson said.

dylan jackson InsideDylan Jackson, a junior majoring in psychology LEXI COON / University Relations“I think UAB students have done an amazing job so far at educating themselves and the ones around them on the science behind the pandemic and taking the necessary precautions to keep our transmission rates as low as they are,” he continued. He added that students can continue that good work by following state and local regulations and consuming information from reputable news outlets. UAB-specific COVID-19 information is updated regularly at

Elizabeth Elmore, a freshman majoring in chemistry, says she was motivated to become a campus safety specialist for many reasons — including her desire to remain on campus once arriving. Elmore also still has time to focus on her studies.

“With it being my freshman year, I want to really have the opportunity for the full freshman experience: making new friends, struggling to wake up for 8 a.m. classes, hanging out with those new friends too late and missing a deadline… all the things that eventually make a well-rounded student through hard lessons to learn.”

The best way to have those opportunities, she explains, is through working to make campus safer and ensuring that Blazers abide by safety precautions. Students want to stay on campus for that true college experience, she says, which motivates them to be as safe as possible.

elizabeth elmore insideElizabeth Elmore, a freshman majoring in chemistry LEXI COON / University Relations“This is our new normal for the moment, so we have to embrace it and make the best out of it,” Elmore said. “It’s not the freshman year I’d looked forward to, but I’m making the most out of it and finding new ways to make it better by the week. We just need to take it one day at a time and not stress about something we can’t control — unless that’s wearing our masks.”

Torres echoes Elmore’s advice: You can still enjoy yourselves while still following the rules, he says. The Campus Green is always open for socially distanced walking or relaxing, and thanks to technology, staying six feet apart doesn’t mean you can’t socialize. Even the Campus Recreation Center has re-opened with measures to help fight COVID-19. There is even space now for personal reinvention, he says — and reminding Blazers of that can encourage them to remain safe and compliant.

“Also, take a moment to sit down and get to know yourself, and think about what new things you can try that you’ve never thought about. If you don’t like reading, try comics or watch a new show. See what hobbies you have or would like to have. This is when there’s a bit of time to try a new language if you’ve ever wanted to.

“Keep your health first. You keeping your own health as a top priority right now actually helps others as well.”

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