Keeping students safe means more than making sure their laptops don’t get stolen. The main threat to students is stress, and you may be surprised how vital security guards can be in helping students in halls of residence to receive the care they need to fulfil their potential.
Magenta Security has over 20 years of experience working with university and privately run halls of residence in inner city, rural and campus sites across the UK. This has given us a broad perspective of the student accommodation security challenges faced by both inner city and out of town universities and how they differ.
There are pros and cons to both inner city and out of town universities and which is best will depend on the interests of the students.
Inner city universities provide not just the campus itself but access to all the activities, events and culture of urban living, while an out of town university provides a complete and integrated experience where students can be entirely immersed in their studies.
Inner city universities rely in part on privately run halls of residence. Students who live in private halls share with students from other universities, and as the halls are not directly run by their university, the university is not able to provide direct care and monitoring of their students’ wellbeing.
Private halls of residences are a booming business, and it’s important that universities build and maintain strong links with private halls to ensure that their students are receiving the best level of care possible and limit how much external factors might impede their education.
It is also in the interests of the private halls to maintain close communication with the university, so that students that may need assistance are given the appropriate care. If you want to approach it from a purely business perspective, happy students are good customers.
Unfortunately, as with any business, there is a broad range of quality in private halls of residence. While most provide high standards of accommodation and take their responsibilities towards the students that use them seriously, others cut corners for profit and have a neglectful or even hostile attitude towards their tenants.
One of the easiest ways to identify high quality private halls is the presence of security guards and the role that they provide.
Security guards are an essential component of student care in private halls of residence. Not only do they keep the students and the building safe and remove anyone who shouldn’t be there, but they can monitor the wellbeing of students and report anything unusual to the halls or directly to the university.
It is security guards who see the students every day and who are in the building out of hours. No one is better placed to recognise when a student might be struggling, and because students see them every day, they are the first person a student might come to should there be any issues, either with the accommodation or more generally.
Private halls of residence must utilise the care potential of security guards, not merely use them as someone who sits behind reception. There must be open and clear communication links between the students, the security, the halls, and the university.
If a student has been missing seminars, if they’ve been visibly distressed or if they simply need someone to talk to at 3am, it’s security guards who are there to provide immediate care in private halls. Without them, good students having a hard time can slip between the cracks.
Of course, this all depends on the consistency and the quality of the security guards. If there is a high turnover, students won’t develop rapport and trust with the security guards and the security guards won’t have the familiarity with the students to be able to notice when their behaviour is out of the ordinary.
Private halls of residence that wish to provide the best service for their students must take security seriously and hire security guards who are dedicated to the additional responsibilities of student care and treat their role as a long term commitment, not a short term gig.
Universities, parents and student bodies, meanwhile, should investigate any private halls used by their students to make sure they have high standards of service and care, including round the clock security guards.
Our security guards in private halls of residence have provided front line care for students many times, and have served as a direct point of contact for the universities or parents of the students. I’m proud of the difference Magenta Security has made to the lives of students across the country.
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