Training workshop prepares Residence Assistants for active shooter situation on campus


Coutresy of Alice Training Institute.

Lauren Biertempfel

Kent State’s resident assistants are required to attend at least one ALICE training workshop, which is used nationwide, helps students and staff better prepare and protect themselves in an active shooting situation until law enforcement arrives at the scene, to prepare for active shooter situations.

“It provides training around how recognize a situation that may be escalating, how to keep yourself safe and how to keep others safe as well,” said Katie Sorokas, director of residential communities.

RAs are trained to keep their floors safe and calm in situations and as student leaders, they can help keep people safe wherever they are at on campus, she said.

“It is a requirement for RAs because we have so many student leaders on campus that are in the RA position and they keep our community safe by having knowledge on how to respond to threatening behavior,” she said.  

During workshops students are able to participate in different drills. One common drill is using a belt to lock doors around campus and in classrooms, she said.

“Safety is one of our number one priorities with our communities and our residence halls,” she said. “Any strategy that we can teach our RA’s adds more and more value to keeping our community safe.”

Olson Hall RA and senior public relations major Meghan Blaha has attended two ALICE workshops in her three years as an RA.

“The first time we did it, it was extremely eye opening,” Blaha said.

In high school, they teach you to shelter in place and ALICE training is completely different because it trains you to be active and ready for whatever comes your way, she said.

Blaha said that her training was helpful last spring when there was an active shooter at Bowman, which is located across the Esplanade from Olson Hall.

“When you are sitting through the training you are thinking ‘this will never happen’ and all of a sudden it happens,” she said. “Thankfully I had that training to fall back on.”

The acronym ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. The acronym is explained and taught in a 90-minute workshop that includes a lecture, video and demonstrations, said Michquel Penn, community resource officer at the Kent State Police Department.

She described the acronym as follows:

  • Alert is the danger announcement that informs people that there is an active shooter.
  • Lockdown is the lockdown of the building and rooms that are in harm.
  • Inform is the exchange of information about the shooter.
  • Counter techniques are the things you can do to counter actions that are taken against you if you are being attacked.
  • Evacuate means to evacuate yourself and others from the situation when it is safe.

The demonstrations, set up by the human resources department through its training program, are dependent upon the questions asked and where the workshop is, said Penn.

For more information on ALICE workshops, visit

Contact Lauren Biertempfel at [email protected].