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Virginia Tech Shooting Survivor Shares Moving Story, Gives Advice About School Safety


Posted 02/06/2015
Submitted by Sophia Olsen
Category: Campus Announcements, Student Announcements
Kristina Anderson speaks at Konover Campus Center.

Kristina Anderson speaks at Konover Campus Center.

Public Safety Assistant Chief Michael Kaselouskas poses with Anderson at Konover.

Public Safety Assistant Chief Michael Kaselouskas poses with Anderson at Konover.

In a talk filled with emotions, Kristina Anderson, a survivor of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, talked about her tragic experience and provided students with advice on how to create a secure school environment.

Anderson spoke on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at Konover in a program sponsored by SGA, Public Safety, and Student Affairs.

On a cold Monday in April 2007, Anderson attended a French class at Virginia Tech's Norris Hall, which changed her life completely. Toward the end of the class, she heard loud gun shots nearby. A few moments later, the shooter entered the classroom and shot everyone he could see. Anderson was hit three times: two shots in the back and one shot to her toe. The shooter then left the classroom to go after other students and teachers. However, shortly after, he returned to Anderson's classroom to kill survivors of his attack there. Anderson pretended to be dead, which saved her life.

To this day, Anderson still gets emotional when talking about the pain her mother went through, when she learned that Anderson was shot. In the classroom, 12 people out of 18 died. In total, 32 people were killed that day.

The tragic experience led Anderson to create the Koshka Foundation for Safe Schools, which works to improve campus safety, empower student activism, and forge connections between survivors of various causes.

At the Feb. 3 event, Anderson provided students with a few suggestions on how to create a safer school environment:

  • Make a mental map: Whenever you enter a room, look around to identify possible exits. Prepare yourself mentally in case something unexpected should happen.
  • Think about the risks: If your gut tells you that something is not right, check it out. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • In case of an emergency, try to block doors so it will be difficult for an intruder to get in.

The University of Hartford’s Department of Public Safety works to create a secure environment on campus. The department has an anonymous tip line to report anything suspicious. The tip line number is 860.768.7827. For emergencies on campus, call 860.768.7777.

Public Safety is planning a series of training sessions where students can learn about campus safety. Stay tuned for an announcement of dates and times.

Kristina Anderson speaks at Konover Campus Center.

Kristina Anderson speaks at Konover Campus Center.

Public Safety Assistant Chief Michael Kaselouskas poses with Anderson at Konover.

Public Safety Assistant Chief Michael Kaselouskas poses with Anderson at Konover.