Campus Viewpoint

New Beginnings

Hi, and welcome to the inaugural issue of Campus Security Today, formerly known as Campus Security & Life Safety. Our rebrand officially took effect in July—partly to align ourselves more closely with our sister publication, Security Today, but also to signal a subtle honing of our editorial coverage to refocus on the topics that matter most to our audience. These pages (as well as our new website, CampusSecurityToday.com) boast a sleeker, more modern design that we hope you’ll enjoy.

It's not a coincidence that our new look coincides with the start of a new school year. During our youth, August always felt like a time of renewal, rebirth, a fresh start. If you didn’t like who you were in middle school, you could be someone different in high school. If your junior year was wracked with mistakes and false starts, hey, that was last year. Senior year could be a clean slate.

As the senior editor for CST, I have to admit that putting this issue together threw me for a little bit of a loop. I’ve been working with the old design for about two and a half years now, and I didn’t realize how comfortable I’d gotten with it until the new one began to present new challenges. Our new font size slightly changed the average word count for a given page, which threw off my initial pagination estimates. Should subheads within articles be capitalized? Should the deck (the brief summary below the headline) have a period? Should pull quotes be in sentence case or all caps? Should the byline read “Text by” or “Author”? And so on.

All of those little editorial idiosyncrasies—the minutiae that matter less in their own right than they do for the sake of consistency—were suddenly brand new. They shook me out of my complacency and muscle memory and made me really refocus, like this was the first issue of a new magazine and there were still countless details to address for the first time as they came up.

One of the biggest threats to security in schools is complacency. Muscle memory. Looking at something without really seeing it because you’ve seen it a thousand times before. I was an RA in college, and our weekend duties included a floor-by-floor patrol of the entire dorm. One weekend in October, our boss announced a new mandate—he told us to switch up our walking route. If we’d been starting at the bottom floor and working our way up, he told us to start at the top and work our way down. If we swept through the common areas counter-clockwise, start doing it clockwise. He told us it was to refresh our perspective, to see things another way, to keep ourselves on our toes.

The new school year is a time to start fresh. To examine our ruts and routines. To decide which ones still work for us and which ones don’t. To look at old problems with fresh eyes and wonder whether they really have to be this way. And even though we’ve officially begun the next era of our franchise, we’re still dedicated to the same goal—keeping campuses safe for the people who live and work there every day.

This article originally appeared in the September / October 2023 issue of Campus Security Today.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com

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