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Virginia Tech survivor speaks on campus

Kristina Anderson speaks on school safety and violence prevention

By Joseph Sciancalepore | 02/04/15 | Updated 02/04/15 | Posted in News, Campus News, Local News

On February 3rd, Kristina Anderson, a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, spoke on the University campus to share her account on that day's events and discuss the importance of safety, personal awareness, and violence prevention.

Anderson was a sophomore at Virginia Tech when she was shot three times in the attack that claimed the lives of thirty-two students and faculty members on April 16, 2007. The Virginia Tech massacre is the deadliest school shooting by a single gunman in United States history.

Anderson is the founder of the Koshka Foundation, which trains law enforcement and students on active shooter awareness. As a result, Anderson does much traveling and speaks about the issues and why such situations are important to know about.

"I think it is important not to forget the lessons learned from our incident," said Anderson, "Help prepare students for, you know, their own safety on campus and life beyond."

During the presentation, Anderson shared with the audience the three things that she learned due to her experience. The first being to know your surroundings.

"I make a mental map and a plan of wherever I go," began Anderson, "so if I'm in an airport or a classroom, I think about where would I get out if I had to, could I push something against the door if I had to lock myself in...?"

The second point is to always minimize risks.

"I think about mitigating risks..." Anderson continued, "so if you're in a situation like a loud party or you're running late at night - what can you do to make yourself... a little more visible to others and less susceptible to being a victim."

Anderson's final point is about appreciation and vulnerability of life.

"Our lives, our days are so extremely short," said Anderson, "This experience taught me very quickly, how quickly my life could have been taken away, so not taking anything for granted and appreciating both little and small things, as well."

Anderson hopes that students will take these three things into account in case they are ever find themselves in any dangerous situation, and help intervene and prevent the situation from occurring, or to find a way to protect themself.

In addition to the Koshka Foundation, Anderson has helped develop a mobile app called LiveSafe, which students can use to anonymously contact the police and inform them of any potential dangers, such as drunkenness or burglary.

"It's just trying to give students another way to reach police and give them a heads up notice without having to actually call them or walk into a police station."

To learn more about the Koshka Foundation, visit koshkafoundation.org, or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/koshkafoundation.

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