There is a fire at a Fort Collins house caused by a cigarette smoldering on a couch. A CSU student in a smoke-filled room cannot find the door. He collapses on the floor and almost dies.
This event occurred last year and was the impetus for Wednesday’s first annual Safety Fair on the Lory Student Center Plaza.
CSU Off-Campus Student Services and the Fort Collins Neighborhood Resources Office organized the fair to inform students about off-campus safety. They wanted to prevent similar events from occurring in the future and to let students know their rights and responsibilities as renters, said Cree Bol, community liaison coordinator for CSU and the City of Fort Collins.
“There are a lot of illegal units out there and it takes an educated renter to be able to identify them,” Bol said. “I think a lot of students have suspected that their unit is not safe, but they’re just not sure,”
Organizations at the fair told students about building code regulations, students’ rights and responsibilities in lease agreements, safe decision-making and renter’s insurance.
“(The fair) seems like a good idea to me,” said Nelson Greenlee, a junior economics major. “It could be a good resource for students, especially sophomores who are in their first off-campus living experience.”
Groups that attended the fair included the CSU Police Department, Fort Collins Police Services, Poudre Fire Authority, Student Legal Services, the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education, State Farm Insurance and Women’s Programs and Studies.
Several groups did something different with their table to attract students. The CADE gave out free root beer and the PFA showed pictures from after the aforementioned fire.
“This could happen to anyone if they don’t take steps to ensure their safety,” said Jim Pietrangelo, a company officer for PFA, referring to the pictures. “People will change their houses, but they don’t follow building codes.”
Sandy Utley, a sophomore open option business major, has never worried that her house was unsafe, but she thinks the Safety Fair is a good idea for other off-campus students.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Utley said. “It’s important for people who might be living in houses that wouldn’t be up to code, for them to get questions answered.”
-Edited by Colleen Buhrer, Shandra Jordan and Ben Koerselman