A core group of Hillsdale College stu­dents meet every other week to train how to handle crisis. Hillsdale Emer­gency Action Response Team formed last fall after the college admin­is­tration sug­gested the idea. The goal was to develop an emer­gency response team of Hillsdale College

stu­dents to respond to emer­gencies on the campus and imme­diate sur­rounding areas.
“It was kind of the brain­child after the Sandy Hook [shooting in Con­necticut],” senior Kelly Tillotson, HEART team leader said. “We heard at an RA meeting that the school wanted to put

together an emer­gency response team to train stu­dents, who, in the event of an emer­gency, could step up to help security and get things back to normal on campus.”

The team meets every other week for CPR training, First Aid cer­ti­fi­cation, drills, physical fitness exer­cises, and table­top exer­cises, which work through potential sit­u­a­tions and responses. The group cur­rently rosters 50, but has a com­mitted core of 15.

HEART will work closely with security in the event of an emer­gency, but the team also partners with local orga­ni­za­tions such as the American Red Cross, Hillsdale Police Department, Hillsdale Fire Department, and the Hillsdale County Manager.

“We want to work with them,” Asso­ciate Dean of Men Jeffery Rogers said. “How can we assist them, because what if we are OK and the city isn’t? We want to help.”

HEART trains to address campus issues as well.

“If some­thing were to happen where the ser­vices of the city and the county are exhausted, we have to fend for our­selves,” Rogers said. “It makes sense to have a cadre of well­equipped, well­organized stu­dents that will know what to do and be able to assist.”

HEART espe­cially attracts stu­dents for the lead­ership training and emer­gency response skills.

“They always say hope for the best prepare for the worst,” junior Markie Zimmer, sec­retary of HEART and pre­med student, said. “Even in med­icine, being in dif­ficult sit­u­a­tions and working through those is a great thing, so why not get training for that,” Zimmer said. “These are always good skills to have, because you never know what sit­u­ation you’re going to be in.”

Tillotson said she appre­ciates the lead­ership expe­rience that HEART offers.

“We are not training kids to take down an active shooter. We are training stu­dents so that they can be leaders in the event of an emer­gency, so they have the knowledge, the back­ground, and some practice so they can keep a level head in an emer­gency and lead other stu­dents,” Tillotson said. “We are trying to train people to be leaders by giving them this knowledge base and this network that they can work through.”

Rogers acknowl­edges that the team is a unique program.
“It’s unique because we are a group of people who are standing by to assist if needed –

hoping never to be needed, but if we are, then we are ready to do that,” Rogers said. “With that comes a lot of training and a lot of recruiting.”

HEART hopes to grow both in the com­munity and on campus. The team is also applying to be rec­og­nized by Student Fed­er­ation as an official campus club this semester. Rogers also hopes for a student rep­re­sen­tative in the community.

“We even­tually want to have a HEART rep­re­sen­tative on the Hillsdale Emer­gency Response

Com­mittee so that we have a student lending a voice to the com­munity,” Rogers said. “What are we here for if we are just here to get an edu­cation and not make a dif­ference in where we are at? This is a chance for stu­dents to lead.”