By Katelyn White
While rushing to class, imagine students embarking on a safari with zebras and monkeys roaming the campus and seeing a beautiful view of the ocean in the distance. For Vickie Weaver, this dream became a reality.
Weaver, director of Public Safety, had the opportunity to attend the Campus Protection Society of Southern Africa (CAMPROSA) Conference in late October. Her 10-day stay in South Africa enabled her to experience the culture and structure of the colleges located there as well as acquire a global perspective on public safety.
“I recognized the importance of traveling internationally to participate, share and learn as part of IACLEA’s ongoing commitment to our international members,” Weaver said.
In July 2013, Weaver was instated as the president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). CAMPROSA extended an invitation to IACLEA’s president to participate in the conference.
“I was very honored to attend, and to offer an overview on IACLEA and campus law enforcement,” Weaver said.
She said that the profession of campus law enforcement, globally, has more similarities than differences. Big picture items like crime prevention, emergency preparedness and collaboration on a broader scale are common with other global campus law enforcements. Parking, for instance, is one of the top universal issues on most campuses. Some of the differences between Rider and universities globally are the local, state and province laws, as well as emergencies specific to topography and weather events based on location of the campus.
During the conference, she was able to learn about the resources the colleges’ Public Safety departments had available and how they worked together with the South African Police. On a global scale, they looked at technology and the latest trends such as a shuttle tracking system that tracked the route, maintenance and speeds of shuttle buses.
Weaver’s co-workers expressed admiration of her commitment to expand her horizons.
“I think it was great that Director Weaver was afforded the opportunity to travel to South Africa and interact with fellow college and university Public Safety officials,” Jim Flatley, captain of Public Safety said. “Director Weaver is a well-respected member of the Rider University community, and she has been a major force in ensuring that the Public Safety Department keeps up-to-date on all of the best practices that affect our profession.”
Weaver found the visit to be an enlightening experience.
“It certainly was a trip of a lifetime,” Weaver said. “Just being able to meet folks in different environments, enjoying the university setting, seeing where the learning takes place and connecting with the students was neat on so many levels.”
During the time of Weaver’s trip, South Africa was entering its summer season. She was able to visit three universities: Cape Town University, Stellenbosch University and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
Weaver met up with Steven Ganger, investigations manager for Cape Town University and IACLEA member, and took a brief driving tour of the campus. The university has three main campuses that are sprawled out in the city between the mountains and the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The diversity of the college includes 26,000 students from 90 different countries.
From Cape Town she traveled to Stellenbosch University, which is located in the heart of wine country. Manager of Security Services Angelo Echardt escorted Weaver on a tour. The combination of mountains, waterfalls and lush foliage was woven into the beautiful scenery.
The next day she headed to NMMU in Port Elizabeth, east of Cape Town, to meet Derek Huebsch, risk manager for NMMU, for a tour of the university.
Some of the universities that Weaver visited ran into some public safety issues that Rider has never experienced.
“One of the institutions was having a problem with the monkeys,” she said. “They would warn the students to close and lock their windows, because the monkeys would climb in to steal food and shiny things.”
Seeing zebras, water buffalo or giraffes walking around campus is not unusual for students. Weaver said South Africans have a high respect for the animals and a love for nature. They also welcomed their U.S. visitor.
“The conference was great to be able to connect with peers in my field from South Africa,” she said. “From my arrival time to the time that I departed, people could not have been more hospitable and welcoming. I was taken by the beauty of the country.”
Weaver said she was grateful for the experiences she has had as president of IACLEA.
“I sincerely appreciate the support of Rider University that so graciously allowed me to become president of IACLEA,” Weaver said. “They supported me during my presidency and also provided me the opportunity to travel to meet other institutions to continue to further promote campus Public Safety. I’m very fortunate to work at such a great university.”