Pedal with Confidence: Bicycle Safety and Security Tips

Cycling is not only a great way to stay active and reduce your carbon footprint but also an efficient mode of transportation. Whether you’re a dedicated cyclist or an occasional rider, ensuring your safety and the security of your bicycle should be a top priority.   In this blog, we’ll discuss some essential tips for maintaining your safety and protecting your bike.

Bicycle Safety Tips:

  1. Wear a Helmet: Always start with the basics. A properly fitting helmet is your best defense against head injuries in case of a fall or collision. Make sure it meets safety standards and replace it if it’s damaged or has been in a crash.
  2. Obey Traffic Rules: Treat your bicycle as a vehicle and follow the traffic laws. Signal your turns, stop at stop signs and red lights, and yield the right of way when necessary. Be predictable to other road users.
  3. Visibility is Key: Equip your bicycle with lights and reflectors, especially if you ride in low-light conditions or at night. Reflective clothing and accessories can also increase your visibility to drivers. You should always ride with a forward facing white light and a rear facing red light. These are sold at many retailers and are easy to install.
  4. Stay Aware: Keep an eye on your surroundings, scan for potential hazards, and anticipate the actions of other road users. Avoid distractions like texting while riding.
  5. Use Hand Signals: Signaling your intentions with hand signals is crucial for communicating with drivers and pedestrians. Learn and use these signals consistently.
  6. Maintain Your Bicycle: Regularly inspect your bike for loose bolts, worn-out tires, and malfunctioning brakes. Proper maintenance ensures your bicycle functions safely.
  7. Ride Defensively: Assume that not all drivers will see you. Be prepared to react quickly to avoid collisions, and maintain a safe following distance behind vehicles.

Bicycle Security Tips:

  1. Lock It Up: Invest in a high-quality bike lock and use it every time you leave your bicycle unattended. Lock both the frame and at least one wheel to a sturdy, immovable object. Consider investing in a U-Lock or a lock with a thick chain. Avoid using cable locks which can be easily cut.
  2. Choose the Right Parking Spot: When locking your bike in a public place, select a well-lit, busy area. Avoid secluded spots where thieves can work undisturbed.
  3. Register Your Bike: Hope College Campus Safety offers bicycle registration. Once your bike is registered with Campus Safety, we will share your registration information with the City of Holland as well in the event your bike is stolen. You can begin the registration process here. Be sure to stop by Campus Safety to pick up your bicycle permit. It is not officially registered until the permit is affixed to your bike.
  4. Document Your Bike: Take photos of your bicycle, noting any distinguishing features or markings. This can be useful for identifying your bike in case of theft. This information is collected when you register your bike with Hope College.

Bicycling is a fantastic way to get around and stay active, but it comes with responsibilities for safety and security. By following these tips, you can pedal with confidence, knowing that you’re taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your cherished bicycle. Remember, safety and security go hand in hand, allowing you to enjoy your rides to the fullest.

Your Top 10 Campus Safety Tips

The Hope College Campus Safety Department is singularly focused on one goal: To keep all in our campus community safe and secure. Your own safety should be your top priority, too. With the start of a new academic year, we in Campus Safety want to remind you about these important safety tips:

  1. Avoid walking alone….especially in the dark!

When it comes to walking around campus, there is power in numbers. After a late night at the library or visiting friends, ask someone to walk with you, take the campus shuttle (see Shuttle Stop #2), or call Campus Safety to escort you. 

  1. Ride the Campus Shuttle 

The free Hope shuttle van circles campus every evening from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on a counter-clockwise route around core campus. Take a look at this route map, then look for shuttle signs around campus that show their corresponding route stop times. Not only is it safe, warm, and fast, it is sure to have a stop and time convenient for you. 

  1. Use the Code Blue Safety Phones

In 17 spots spread throughout campus, there are Code Blue Safety Phones that call in directly to Campus Safety in case you need assistance or are in an emergency situation. Be sure to push the button firmly to be directed to Campus Safety. 

  1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Make sure you are aware of your current surroundings when walking outside. If you wear earbuds, consider only wearing one to keep an eye on the environment and to hear what is happening around you. 

  1. Add Campus Safety as a contact in your phone.

Add the Campus Safety phone number as a contact in your phone – (616) 395-7770. You never know when you may need to act quickly. 

  1. Lock your car, take your keys, and hide your belongings! 

An easy and highly effective way to prevent car burglary is to lock your car and to take all of your valuables with you. This helps to ensure that your vehicle is not an easy target. If you do have to leave valuables in your vehicle, keep them tucked safely out of sight. 

  1. Don’t prop open doors or share your housing code.

It may seem convenient to prop open your door or share your code with a friend, but when you do that, you are putting your belongings, roommate/housemates, and yourself at risk. An open door is an invitation for people who might not call your house or res hall their home. Keep what is meant to be private, private. 

  1. If you see something, say something!

If you see something that looks out of the ordinary or suspicious, please call Campus Safety. Examples of this might include doors or windows left open that are usually closed; a suspicious person who may not be part of our college community and is asking students for information; an argument or disagreement between two people that continues to escalate; a person asking about our buildings and facilities beyond a casual interest; or,  persons taking photographs or video that might not be for college use. Even if you are slightly suspicious of someone or something, it is always best to play it safe and call Campus Safety. We are happy to respond to any concern you may have. 

  1. Sign Up for HOPE ALERTs

The HOPE ALERT system sends texts and emails to members of the Hope campus community about urgent and immediate safety information.

To sign up for the system or verify that your information is current:

  • Log in to with your User ID and PIN.
  • Enter Secure Area > Personal Information > Update Emergency Contacts
  • If your name is not listed, add a New Contact. Enter your name and cell phone number. 
  • To receive emergency text messages, the relationship must be set to Self and your name must be listed in the first (1) order spot.
  • Click Submit Changes.
  1. Just call

Even the best safety tips can’t prevent every emergency. If you are ever in doubt, call Campus Safety at (616) 395-7770.

AED Units Help Save Lives

Outdoor AED cabinet
Ray & Sue Smith Football Stadium

Inside of Hope College buildings, you can find an AED device. AED stands for “Automatic External Defibrillator” and its purpose is to help those who are having a cardiac event, including a heart attack. The device sends an electric shock through the victim, with the intent of stopping an irregular heartbeat to allow a normal rhythm to return. Essentially, it provides a defibrillating pulse that allows the victim to have proper blood flow until emergency personnel arrive.

Campus Safety gives students and staff the opportunity to become trained in using AEDs, but training isn’t required to be able to use an AED device. If you witness a person experiencing a cardiac event, activate the device, and it will speak to the user, taking them step by step to ensure proper use. By properly following the device’s electronically-spoken instructions, the victim is much more likely to benefit from AED use.

AED devices are checked regularly by Campus Safety and private contractors, and can be found in many locations across campus inside of buildings.  Traditionally AEDs could only be stored inside of buildings since cold or hot temperatures outside could make the AED susceptible to failure if stored in these extreme temperatures. However, with newly developed AED cabinets, AED can now be stored in climate controlled cabinets in outdoor environments. Hope just finished installing 4 climate controlled AEDs cabinets in outside locations across our Athletic Fields to make AEDs available to anyone in these outside areas.

Always remember where to find an AED device in your building or outside. It, and you, could save a life. 

If you are interested in AED, CPR, First Aid training sessions, registration for upcoming sessions can be found under Safety Training.

The location of the AED devices on campus are as follows belows, and they can be found on the Hope Campus Map

  1. ANDERSON WERKMAN CENTER – South entrance hallway
  2. ATHLETIC FIELD GARAGE – Double Door Overhead Garage
  3. BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER: MAIN LEVEL – Main floor near elevator
  4. BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER: LOWER LEVEL – Lower level near elevator
  5. CAMPUS SAFETY – Officer’s Room
  6. DEVOS FIELDHOUSE: EVENT LEVEL – Southwest end of bleachers
  7. DEVOS FIELDHOUSE: TICKET OFFICE – East concourse by ticket office
  8. DEVOS FIELDHOUSE: 2nd FLOOR WEST – Across from the 2nd floor elevator
  9. DEWITT CULTURAL CENTER – 1st floor theater southeast entrance by restrooms
  10. DEWITT TENNIS CENTER – West wall of main lobby
  11. DIMNENT CHAPEL – 1st floor foyer by elevator entrance door
  12. DOW CENTER – 1st floor equipment room
  13. GRAVES HALL – 1st floor center hallway
  14. HAWORTH HOTEL – 1st floor north kitchen hallway
  15. JACK H. MILLER CENTER: TICKET OFFICE – 1st floor North hallway by Ticker Office
  16. JACK H. MILLER CENTER: EAST HALLWAY – 1st floor East hallway by Admin Offices
  17. JIM HEERINGA ATHLETIC CENTER – South entrance hallway
  19. LUBBERS HALL – North entrance door
  20. LUGERS FIELDHOUSE – South entrance door hallway
  21. MAAS CENTER – West hallway
  22. MARTHA MILLER – 1st floor communication dept hallway
  23. PHYSICAL PLANT – 1st floor ground dept. offices
  24. RAY & SUE SMITH FOOTBALL STADIUM – West side of football field by bleacher wall
  25. SCHAAP SCIENCE CENTER – Ground floor South Central Stair
  26. THEIL RESEARCH CENTER – East Stairwell
  27. TRANSPORTATION GARAGE – North entrance hallway
  28. VAN ANDEL HUYS DER HOPE – South main entrance
  29. VAN ANDEL SOCCER STADIUM – In main tunnel to field
  30. VAN WYLEN LIBRARY – 1st floor by elevator doors
  31. VANDE POEL-HEERINGA TENNIS COURTS – Gate on the side of the main entry arch (by roundabout)
  32. VANDERWERF HALL – Basement hallway by accelerator lab
  33. WOLTERS SOFTBALL INTRAMURAL FIELD – On telephone pole located on south end of the intramural softball field

    MOBILE AED’s (Assigned to position)
  34. CAMPUS SAFETY CRUISERS – Each Campus Safety cruiser has an AED for Officer use (Qty. 3)
  35. ATHLETIC TRAINERS – Use by athletic trainers for Hope sporting events (Qty. 3)

Preparing for Tornado Season

Michigan is no stranger to severe weather.  As April quickly approaches, so does the beginning of testing of the tornado sirens in the City of Holland.   The Outdoor Warning Siren System is used in the event are sustained winds of 70 MPH or more or there is a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service.  The City of Holland will begin testing the Outdoor Warning Siren System on Friday, April 7 at 12:00 pm. The testing will occur on the first Friday of the month at 12:00 pm and will conclude on October 6. 

Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority has the technology to issue a county-wide warning, although Holland can still sound their alarms for a local emergency.

Hope College Campus Safety will issue a Rave Alert in the event there is a Severe Thunderstorm or a Tornado Warning.  If you have not received the Rave Alert test messages sent each semester, be sure to update your emergency contact information in

Text alert: Please take a few minutes to verify that your emergency contact information is current by doing the following:
> Go to
> Select “Personal Information.”
> Select “Update Emergency Contacts.” Your name (Relationship: Self) and cell phone number entered as an Emergency Contact will register you to receive HOPE ALERT messages.

In the event of a severe weather emergency, immediately seek shelter in the nearest designated shelter area.  Continue to monitor email, local radio, and television for indications from the National Weather Service that the tornado warning has been lifted.  Do not clear the shelter area until officially given the all-clear by the National Weather Service or by Hope College Campus Safety.

Hope Alerts Aid in Campus Safety

Recently you may have received text messages on your phone regarding Holland weather advisories and timely safety precautions for our campus. You may also wonder what these messages are, where they come from and how to take action.

Emergency alerts are sent when there is an immediate threat to life and/or property, such as natural or man-made disasters, active assailants, or threats on campus. You may also get occasional test messages. These messages begin with the words “HOPE ALERT,” followed by timely information that advises students, faculty, and staff with instructions for further action to stay safe.

Here is some important information that Campus Safety would like you to know about Hope Alerts:

Why pay attention to a HOPE ALERT?

Campus Safety officers and dispatchers are vigilant about various happenings on campus and in Holland, especially in the surrounding area. If they hear of an event that is concerning and poses a potential threat to people at Hope, a Hope Alert is sent out. The most effective way to stay out of harm’s way is to follow the safety precautions recommended in the HOPE ALERT.

I did not receive a HOPE ALERT. What should I do?

Making sure that you are signed up to receive emergency text alerts is the first step to ensuring that you are keeping yourself safe. To sign up for the system or verify that your information is current:

  • Log in to with your User ID and Password.
  • Enter Secure Area > Personal Information > Update Emergency Contacts
  • If your name is not listed, add a New Contact. Enter your name and cell phone number.
  • To receive emergency text messages, the relationship must be set to Self, and your name must be listed in the first (1) order spot.
  • Click Submit Changes.

Take responsibility for your own safety by double-checking that the correct contact information is in the system.

Hope Alerts will be delivered from any of the following short codes:  226787, 67283, 77295, or 78015. Verify that you have not blocked these numbers on your mobile device.

What happens after I receive a HOPE ALERT?

All relevant updates during an emergency are issued via the HOPE ALERT system, the Hope Alert page, inHope, and the @HopeCollege Twitter account. Calling Campus Safety during an emergency should occur ONLY if you have critical information to report about the situation. Lines should stay open for officers to resolve the situation with those needing to report information about the emergency.

Who receives a HOPE ALERT?

Once the account has been successfully updated, students who are enrolled in classes, live, and/or work on campus will receive a Hope Alert. Also, faculty and staff members receive the Hope Alerts.

Make the Call with Code Blue Safety Phones

Hope College has a beautiful campus adorned with tall trees, amazing architecture, and Code Blue Safety Phones. These Code Blue Safety Phones are conveniently placed around campus to act as a direct line to Campus Safety. When you press the “Help” button, you will be immediately connected with a dispatcher at Campus Safety.  

Although most students will use their own cellphones to call Campus Safety, it would be remiss to think that when in need of assistance, everyone has easy access to their cell phone. In times of panic or necessary quick action, these Code Blue Safety Phones act as an accessible and simple way to connect with Campus Safety immediately.

Every time a call comes from the Code Blue Safety Phone into dispatch, an officer is immediately sent to that location, whether someone is heard on the line or not. These safety phones can be used at any time to reach Campus Safety no matter what the situation. Whether you are in imminent danger, need a jumpstart or safety escort, calls can always be made on a Code Blue Safety Phone.

Code Blue Safety Phones are placed strategically throughout all of central campus as well as at the perimeters such as in front of DeVos Fieldhouse on Fairbanks Avenue and on 15th Street between Columbia and Lincoln. In fact, there will be more Code Blue Safety Phones added in the near future.

We recommend that you become familiar with where the Code Blue Safety Phones are located.  Here you will find a map of the current locations of all Code Blue Safety Phones.

Officer Profile: Henry Chen

One of the most familiar faces around campus is Campus Safety Officer Henry Chen. Chen was born in Taiwan, moved to New York City as a small boy, and then made his way to Holland as a student at Hope College where he majored in religion and graduated in 1999. After briefly attending medical school at Brown University, Chen missed the community and atmosphere he had left behind and made his way back to the college to begin his career first as a dispatcher and then as a campus safety officer, a position he has held for 15 years. He brings a vibrant commitment to the Hope community and its students, faculty and staff.

Where are you from?

I consider myself ‘Made in Taiwan’ but I grew up in New York City. I only lived in Taiwan when I was very young, but I remember the environment to be quite different and I was always a sick kid. While I was in elementary school, my family and I immigrated to the United States where we lived in Queens, and I would commute to Brooklyn every day to go to high school. My family owned convenience shops, a laundromat, and a small Taiwanese restaurant. I am grateful for the diverse childhood that I had in the city.   

Do you have a family?

I am married and have two kids. My wife Julie is a Hope graduate and works for our church at First Reformed Church in Zeeland as the coordinator and communications manager. Acacia is in 3rd grade; she is artistic, caring, and empathetic. My son, Micah, is in 1st grade and along with his sister, he loves music and plans on going to Hope.

How did you first hear about Hope College?

Growing up in New York, my family and I went to a Reformed Church and a pastor felt called to tell me about Hope College and why I should attend school there. He told me that along with the outstanding education I would receive at Hope, the people whom I’d meet there are the kind that make a difference and are going to change my life. Through my years as both a student and staff member, I have found that to be true.

What were you involved in when you were a student at Hope?

I majored in religion and I was a student-athlete. I was on the track team and the men’s (club) volleyball team. I was a moraler and eventually a morale coach for Nykerk. I worked as a student campus safety dispatcher and a student officer.

Coming from the inner city to Holland, there was little diversity and Hope Asian Perspective Association was just getting started. I became a part of that organizations and found other friends of different Asian descent. However, along with that, I found friends from all backgrounds who made a point to engage with me and get to know me for who I am.

What is the best part of being a Campus Safety Officer at Hope?

The connections that we make with people at Hope College. I have been a part of this community for a very long time. Not only as a campus safety officer but many other positions at Hope as well. Through my assistant track coach position, a brief stint as the resident director in Wykoff, working for the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and my campus safety position. As a campus safety officer, we see all parts of student life from the best to the worst but through all circumstances, this job allows me to help people every day.

What are you most passionate about?

Meeting people and investing in the lives of students. Getting to know people who I come across whether it is out in the volleyball world (see below) or around campus. I feel called to get to know people and tell them that they are important and to value whoever may come my way.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

When I am not working as a campus safety officer, I am a state volleyball referee and a national volleyball line judge. Recently, I was a part of the officiating crew for the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Final Four. It all started when I came to Hope and my roommate and I were on the men’s club team and the athletic director asked us if we could do the lines for Hope matches.

One of my favorite memories as a line judge is the first time that I line-judged at the brand-new DeVos Fieldhouse and Hope was playing Calvin. The game was very intense and towards the end, the anticipation was palpable. When Hope won, the whole arena roared and it was the loudest roar I had ever heard. It could only be described as a feeling of pure joy for the spectators and you could feel the weight of that in the [gymnasium].

What is one piece of advice you would give Hope students?

Step into Hope’s mission in whatever way it speaks to you. Hope College provides so many opportunities and connections. Although you may fear that next step, listen to the multiple positives that this community can bring you.

This is the second in a series of personal profiles about the officers who serve Hope College. Together with all members of the campus community,  the Campus Safety Department strives to provide a safe and secure environment for all to learn, live and work.

Officer Profile: Joel Serna

One of the newest additions to the Campus Safety team is Officer Joel Serna. Officer Serna was raised in Mexico, moved to Los Angeles, and eventually made his way to Holland as a student at Hope College. Though language barriers inhibited his completion of a Hope degree, Officer Serna completed the Police Academy in 1991 at GRCC and later graduated from GVSU in 1998 with his bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science. He made his way back to Hope College in 2018 as a Campus Safety employee. Officer Serna brings 27 years of experience with the Holland Police Department, along with a passion for working alongside the Hope community, to his role as a Campus Safety Officer.

Where are you from?

I currently live in Zeeland but I was born and raised in Mexico until I was 15. My family and I moved to Los Angeles where I learned to speak English. The hardest part about leaving Mexico was leaving my friends. We loved to play and used to spend the entire afternoon playing football and baseball until it was dark outside. While in L.A. my father visited Michigan with a friend and fell in love with Holland and the community so we moved here and I have stayed in the area since then.

Do you have a family?

I am married and collectively we have 5 kids. Most of them are out of high school except our youngest son, Eli, who is in 3rd grade. I am passionate about my family and love to have a strong relationship as a family.

When was the first time that you discovered you wanted a career as an officer?

I graduated from Grand Valley with a Behavioral Science degree.  I started working with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where someone approached me about working with law enforcement. I love to work with people and help others so it seemed to be a good fit.

After working for the Holland Police Department for 27 years, what led you to work at Hope College as a Campus Safety Officer?

I retired from the Holland Police Department over the summer but knew that I wanted to continue working. The Hope College campus is beautiful and has a great atmosphere. The interaction with the students, staff, and community was very appealing. The community policing philosophy that Campus Safety is embracing means I don’t just drive around but there is a social aspect to our job. I like to keep the campus orderly and the students safe but also like to chit chat, socialize, and relate to students.

What is the best part of being a Campus Safety Officer?

The people that I work with, the Campus Safety team, is great. As well as meeting the students. Each student comes from different backgrounds and brings diversity to campus. Getting to know the students gives me even more motivation to care for the community.

What are your hobbies?

I love when the weather gets cold and you can get cozy and read. I like to listen to music and work out. I usually listen to 80’s rock, hard rock, Spanish music, and a little Shawn Mendez. I love spending time with my family.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I may look tough but I am actually a very sensitive guy. I’m kind of a softie. I like to listen and be sociable. I am very empathetic. I think everyone in the human race should have empathy and hospitality. It is all about caring for others.

What is one misconception about your job as a Campus Safety Officer?

No one should ever fear campus safety or be scared to call with any questions. We are there to assist with an open mind and will do our best to assist the students and faculty by making it easy to alleviate the situation. We want to get to know students because knowing each other is helping each other create a more positive environment.

This is the first in a series of personal profiles about the officers who serve Hope College. Together with all members of the campus community,  the Campus Safety Department strives to provide a safe and secure environment for all to learn, live and work.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to bring attention to relationship abuse. This gives us the opportunity to connect victims to advocates, educate people on the reality of the problem, and to empower those who have survived. Nationwide, more than half of the students who report having experienced domestic violence say that it occurred while in college. Being aware of the signs of domestic abuse and the resources available is the best way to keep you and the people you love in safe and healthy relationships.

Unfortunately, domestic violence is not uncommon. One in four women and one in seven men will experience relationship violence in their lifetimes. The most common assumption about domestic violence is that an abusive relationship consists only of an uncontrollable man with a raging temper. Domestic violence and emotional abuse affect every age, sex, race, and culture. Abusive behaviors are actions one person takes in a relationship to control the other person physically and emotionally.

Being able to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships can be complicated at times. No two relationships are the same. More than half of all college students say it is difficult to identify dating abuse. Although there are many different red flags, these are common warning signs of dating abuse:

  • Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Extreme possessiveness, jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Using intimidation to instill fear
  • Physically inflicting pain or harm in any way
  • Telling someone what they can and cannot do, say or wear
  • Blames you for their actions (“You made me do this,” or “You make me act this way,” etc.).
  • CrazyMaking (their words and actions make you feel like you’re going crazy)
  • Repeatedly pressuring or coercing someone to have sex

According to the Domestic Violence Hotline, 38% of college students say they don’t know how to get help for themselves if they are victims of dating abuse, and 58% say they don’t know how they would help someone else if that person were a victim.

The first step is to start the conversation. Tell them what you have noticed that concerns you and ask them if they recognize those same behaviors. Connect them to resources and share healthy relationship characteristics.

Second, be supportive of those that are in an abusive relationship. Often times those in a relationship do not recognize the abuse. Do not be judgmental of persons in an abusive relationship. Instead, be supportive and keep your door for communication open.

Third, be aware of and share the resources that are available to those at risk. Outside help may not feel like the best choice, but these situations are serious, so it is important to call professionals for support.

Abuse is never the fault of the victim.  If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or relationship abuse, help is available. You can file a report by calling Campus Safety at 616-395-7770, or you can reach out to one of our confidential campus resources:  

Counseling Center (CAPS): DeWitt Center – 2nd floor, 616-395-7945    

Campus Ministries: Keppel House, 616-395-7145  

Confidential Advocate: Christian Gibson, DeWitt Center – 1st floor, 616-395-7800  

Campus Safety Hosts a Second Torch Run for Special Olympics

For the second year in a row, the Campus Safety Department organized and hosted a Torch Run at Hope. Held on Wednesday, Sept. 12, the event not only raised money for Special Olympics, it also brought Hope students, local law enforcement, and Special Olympians together to run a 2.6-mile trek through campus, starting and ending at DeVos Fieldhouse. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a national fundraising effort that was brought to Hope’s campus in 2017 by Campus Safety officers Jeff VanderKooy and Scott Evans.

Read more in this Holland Sentinel story about how VanderKooy and Evans got more than 200 people to take part in this year’s Torch Run.