Going above and beyond the scope of their duties, Steve and Dawn Creft have organized and executed a highly successful outreach program for Adventist University of Health Sciences (ADU) students, faculty, and staff. “Secure in Christ” is an all-day event held biannually in the fall and spring and hosted at a local church.
The Crefts wanted to offer students a chance to worship and enjoy themselves in a setting off campus, where they could also indulge their interests in music and theater. What started as a community outreach day for ADU students has turned into an event that combines worship, song, and spiritual study with another important lesson for attendees — personal safety and campus security.
Steve Roche, senior vice president of student services, tasked the departments under his direction to come up with their own community initiative that would represent the University and support its mission. This prompted Steve Creft, ADU security director, to formalize “Secure in Christ,” which would benefit the attendees both spiritually and practically.
Roche praised the Crefts, saying, “ADU is blessed to have this husband and wife team who care enough to give and provide opportunities for students to engage in a spiritual realm outside of school. Without that, we’re just another University.”
The event starts in the morning with a Sabbath School led by ADU students, followed by faculty-led lessons and study. The students break for lunch, hanging out nearby and relaxing with their peers until the afternoon session begins. Members of the Orlando Police Department (OPD), Kevlon Kirkpatrick and Audra Rigby, deliver a presentation on safety to the students, staff, and faculty, as well as to members of the host church.
According to Kirkpatrick, both hospitals and churches have an uncommon dynamic that other facilities don’t, so learning safety preparedness is especially important for members of ADU and Florida Hospital. As institutions that blend spirituality with healthcare, securing them presents unique challenges.
Kirkpatrick stated some interesting statistics about safety, including that “80 percent of violent acts perpetrated in hospitals are from patients.” The safety presentation addresses situations like this and many more. Churches, he also said, are considered “welcoming soft targets” due to their nature as open places of worship, often not locking their doors, and allowing anyone inside. For that reason, it’s important that church members find creative solutions to their safety gaps, which Kirkpatrick and Rigby’s team provide through their presentation. Kirkpatrick and Rigby are certified and highly experienced practitioners of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which is a focal point of their safety presentations. When these events are held, members of the OPD assess the church’s perimeter and interior, both at night and during the day, to offer their recommendations on how to improve safety gaps.
The initiative has received a great response from students, boasting a full house for one of their previous events at a church in Clermont, Fla. As a bonus, it has been a great way of extending ADU’s awareness to the community. Churches in the area have begun to reach out directly to the Crefts, offering to serve as a host location for future events.
Roche stressed the importance of higher education institutions having a close relationship with local police and firefighters, something that he says Steve Creft has done well in fostering during his past six years keeping ADU’s campus secure.
Adventist University of Health Sciences | June 2017