This page presents general principles and resources for responding to difficult situations while studying off-campus. In addition specific links are provided with protocols and resources.
- Be prepared – Work to keep yourself informed on where emergency services are located (e.g. hospital, ambulance, etc) and how to contact them. Creating a Risk Management Plan is essential – please see section entitled “Creating a General Risk Management Plan. Follow through on the protocols listed below.
- Think Prevention: Always look to avoid potential dangerous situations before they have a chance to happen.
- Stay Calm: Your demeanor will set the tone for how others will respond. Present a sense of outward calm.
- Care for Student(s): Your first responsibility is for the safety and well being of all those involved.
- Communication with Calvin: Reach out to your resources QUICKLY. You are not alone; use the Calvin infrastructure that is in place. Communicate with the Crisis Response Team or with other appropriate offices at Calvin – Off-Campus Programs Office, Health Services, Broene Counseling Center, Student Life, etc.
- Communication with Parents: Remember the primary link between you (as a representative of Calvin) and the parent is through the student. Please remind students to keep parents informed. However, in cases of hospitalization or illness, off-campus directors are encouraged to keep the college and parents informed. If you have questions or concerns about communicating with parents (or responding to parental concerns) contact the off-campus programs office. As always, use the Calvin resources already in place to work through situations.
- Communication with the Media: Whenever possible, avoid communication with the media and direct all media inquiries to the Off-Campus Programs Office at Calvin. If contacted by the media, try not to respond to questions with “no comment” because this answer can imply a lack of cooperation, an attempt to hide something, or a lack of concern. Possible responses to media inquiries include:
- We’ve just learned about the situation and are trying to get more complete information now.
- All of our efforts are directed at bringing the situation under control, so I’m not going to speculate on the cause of the incident.
- I’m not the authority on that subject. Let me have Mr. X call you right back.
- We are preparing a statement on that now. Can I contact you when the statement is completed?
- Keep a log of media contacts and return calls as promptly as possible. A log can help you keep track of issues being raised by reporters, and gives you a record of which media showed the greatest interest.
- Follow-Up: Throughout the process, keep accurate notes. Be sure to fill out relevant paperwork (accident report, incident report, etc). Direct students (and others involved) to appropriate follow-up resources. Address any changes in policy or procedures that should be implemented as a result of what has been learned.
Important Phone Contacts at Calvin:
- Don DeGraaf, Director of Off-Campus Programs:
616-526-6225 (office) – 616-558-7245 (cell)
- Broene Counseling Center – 616-526-6453
- Calvin Campus Safety (24/7 line) – 616-526-6452
- Calvin Health Services – 616-526-7076
- Calvin Off- Campus Programs Office – 616-526-6382
- Student Academic Services – 616-526-6113
- Student Life – 616-526-6453
- Directions for calling Calvin from abroad (if needed, call collect): www.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_country_calling_codes