Campus Safety Leadership | Mace®

This UCSB Student Is Taking Campus Safety to the Next Level

When you see a problem in your community, you take active steps to lead people to a solution and do something about it. That’s leadership. 

That’s what Aala Ahmed is doing for students at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). She reached out to Mace recently to support a campus safety initiative she and a team of students are spearheading as part of their coursework. We wanted to know more about the project and how it will empower women on campus. Here’s what she had to say: 

Can you give us a little background?

I’m a third-year transfer student at the University of California Santa Barbara. I enrolled in a leadership development class, where we were asked to identify an issue on campus that we’d like to fix—one that has a significant impact on students. 

My team chose women’s safety on campus, and we’ve named our group the Women’s Safety Resource. Our goal is to provide women and men with resources, tools, and opportunities to ensure their empowerment. We want to help women ensure their security and feel that they can navigate safely on and off the UCSB campus. We’re also hoping to connect with men to help them understand how they can become better allies—and to help them stay safe as well.

Why did you focus on women’s safety on campus?

The UCSB campus and surrounding area are generally safe for women. But it’s a privileged mindset to believe nothing can happen to you. 

The school is known for its active social life. There are a lot of parties happening around campus. That can sometimes be the source of bad behavior. But, we also know women experience traumatizing situations just living everyday life. 

Unfortunately, we had instances last year of girls getting kidnapped in broad daylight on and off campus. A woman was even abducted while walking down a busy street in Santa Barbara. It was traumatizing to think I could be next. That’s one of the reasons why we want to provide safety resources, including self-defense tools like Mace.

What about USBC’s safety program?

USBC does have a program about campus safety and campus police. Students have to do a two-hour mandatory online seminar when they’re enrolled. The college also issues alerts and occasionally has meetings but they’re not well publicized. So, we wondered: Is that enough? Is it the best way to get women thinking differently about safety? Why not a formal organization dedicated to women’s safety? 

What does the future hold?

For my leadership project, our team wanted to take action. We are going through the process of formally establishing our organization on campus through UCSB. I reached out to Mace because we want women to be prepared for any threat they encounter. 

We recognize there’s more to it than providing information and self-defense tools. It’s about learning how to avoid issues and what to do if you find yourself in danger. Fortunately, many of us haven’t had to use pepper spray. We also plan to educate people on how to safely use pepper spray and other personal defense tools.

Find Out More About Staying Safe on Campus

Mace is always here to help keep students safe. Explore this collection of articles focused on college safety from the experts at Mace.

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