Campus Resident July 2017

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Letter from UBC President

Keeping UBC Community Safe

UBC Risk Management team at Exercise Run Down. Photo credit Greg Johnstone. A few weeks ago, some of you may have noticed an unusual amount of activity on campus. On the morning of June 28, UBC Risk Management staged a large-scale emergency preparedness exercise in the area of Agronomy Road and Main Mall. Exercise Run Down (as it was called), simulated a mock vehicle attack at a running event during which the driver was shot by police. The scenario envisioned 20 to 30 people injured and some fatalities. The exercise included mock casualties and emergency service provider response. Although some members of the university community may have found the exercise disturbing or wondered why we staged it, unfortunately, in the turbulent age in which we live, we need to be prepared for any eventuality. Planning for this exercise was well underway before the recent incidents in London and elsewhere in which innocent lives were lost. UBC treats the safety of the campus community – and its neighbours – very seriously. It is incumbent on major institutions like universities to test their emergency procedures periodically to ensure we are ready to respond to major events and help emergency service providers keep the campus as safe as possible. We hope the exercise helped to reinforce what students, faculty, staff and residents can do to help prepare themselves. We can apply the lessons learned from this emergency training exercise to a whole variety of other scenarios, ranging from an earthquake, a building collapse to a chemical explosion – anything requiring

a mass emergency response and the coordination of multiple agencies. If there ever is a real emergency, we will do our best to alert members of the UBC community as quickly as possible. We have campus alerts and a system that lets us text cell phones of students, staff and faculty. Twitter (@UBC), Facebook ( universityofbc/) and the UBC website ( are also good places to get updates.

Rest assured that UBC has a comprehensive emergency plan in place for all our locations. The plan envisions responses to all kinds of emergency scenarios from earthquakes to forest fires and involves police, fire and other emergency services in both the Lower Mainland and Kelowna, as well as other external and internal partners. It is my fervent hope that we never have to apply the lessons we learn from last month’s exercise, but I rest easier, knowing that we are working to be as prepared as possible. On a less somber note, it’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since it was publicly announced that I would be serving as UBC’s 15th president and vice chancellor. It’s been an eventful and wonderful year. My family and I have been overwhelmed by the welcome we received from the UBC community – students, faculty, staff, neighbours, alumni and friends. It’s the interactions with the people of UBC that makes this job so fulfilling. A few weeks ago, I did a Facebook Live event with UBC journalism professor Kathryn Gretsinger, where I reflected on my first year here. You can watch it on Facebook at The conversation was wide-ranging; from how much sleep I get at night (six hours, but more on weekends) to the different attitudes towards sports at Canadian and America universities. Talking to Kathryn, and answering the questions from the Facebook audience,

Professor Santa Ono. Photo credit Paul Joseph, UBC. made me realize how much I’ve enjoyed my first year at UBC and how I’m looking forward to the coming years as we adopt and initialize our new strategic plan. I’ll have more details on the plan’s progress in my next column. I wish everybody a wonderful summer. Professor Santa J. Ono President and Vice Chancellor University of British Columbia

Mock casualty is treated by emergency service provider during Exercise Run Down at UBC. Photo credit Greg Johnstone.