Protecting Animals: Experiential Service Learning Project

By Kim Charbonneau

Last semester, my Physical Security class was invited to do a Building Risk Assessment of the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Government’s animal shelter in Dayville, Connecticut following a break-in and theft of two Pitbull puppies. As part of experiential learning for the class, the students were able to walk the grounds of the animal shelter and assess the security of the building, identifying potential areas of concern. Following the students’ assessment, the class met with Dianne Collette, Animal Services Director, to ask questions and discuss what policies and procedures are currently in place at the facility.

The following class period was spent assessing the top 10 needs of the NEECOG facility, and assigning each area to a student to assess and resolve. The students then spent several weeks developing fire evacuation procedures, training programs for volunteers, animal health and vaccination forms, volunteer application and background check procedures, and daily logs for the facility. Dianne was invited to observe final presentations, where students presented their assessments and resolutions to us, CJ Internship Coordinator Sonya Rolinski, and Nichols Director of Public Relations Lorraine Martinelli. Dianne then brought the assessments back to the shelter with her and implemented several new policies, helping to increase the safety and security of the rescued animals. This project allowed students to gain real-world experience in the area of physical security, while giving back to the community.

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