Students urged to vote for safety


Erika Ward

Students at Western Illinois University and surrounding community members have the opportunity to help make the Western campus safer for everyone with the STANLEY Security Together Safer Schools Grant Program.

Office of Public Safety Director, Scott Harris has worked to get the student population at Western, as well as surrounding community members, to vote for Western in a contest that will help make the campus safer. 

“This is a nationwide competition to give schools money for safety related equipment,” Harris said.  “The money that we could win, if we took first place is $150,000. That would be put toward security related products like surveillance cameras, door card access, locks, all the gambit of any security-related product that you want to buy.”

There are three different levels, or “tiers” for the competition, according to Harris.  

“Tier One is for schools with a student population of 8,000 and under,” Harris explained.  “Tier Two, which is where WIU is, is for schools with a student population of 8,000 to 19,999.  Finally, Tier Three is for the bigger schools that are above the 20,000 student population threshold.”

The campaign began Monday, Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. Harris said that in the beginning of the competition, Western was in the lead. 

“We held that lead until Sunday night, one week later, and now we’re in second place,” Harris said. “If we were in first place for a week and lost it in just one night that shows us just how close we are to being the first place school.”

Harris tried to get more people involved with the voting. His efforts continue every day as he continues to ask community members to vote. 

“There’s three ways to vote,” Harris said. “You can text ‘wiuedu’ to 334455.  You can do it by tweeting once everyday with the hashtags ‘#wiuedu’ and ‘#STANLEYSecurity.’  You can also vote by email by going to and following the instructions.”

According to Harris, the money from the contest would be put to good use at Western. He said that winning the money would aid attempts to enhance security for Western’s facilities. 

“We want the community to get involved too, not just the students,” Harris said. “When you think of WIU, you think not only of the school but of Macomb, the town square, the eateries.”

Western, currently in second place for Tier Two, with University of West Georgia in Carrollton in the lead.  

Despite being in second place, Harris is hopeful that Western can make it back to the top. Harris believes that students are the key to reaching first place. He said that students could reach out to friends and family members to vote for the university.

“I was never on Twitter or social media but I signed up the day the competition started,” Harris said. “I have five votes every day. I text, I tweet, and I email using my three different accounts.”

Harris and other OPS officers reached out to the students of Western in a variety of ways to try and get people to vote. 

“Channel 4 at the Quad-Cities campus did a story on it,” Harris said.  “We’ve made announcements at the men and women’s basketball games.  All of our electronic signs have featured this contest at one time or another.”

Voting ends Friday, Feb. 12 at midnight. Harris said that he wants everyone to be thinking about what individuals can do to make campus a safer place.

“We certainly need our students to get involved because this is for our students,” Harris said. “We really do need a big push here.”