I Feel Safe When


Created by Jennifer Edwards, artist / facilitator / educator

Click here for a slideshow of GT submitted cards.

Ongoing calls to action for students, faculty and staff:

  1. Add your voice, anonymously, by completing a postcard and dropping it into a collection box located around campus
  2. Consider how you / your group / division / program /school / initiative might use the data collected through this project to further our mandate, enact change and / or further dialogue sparked by this project – Take ownership of this – share your ideas about how this could be useful to you. 


I FEEL SAFE WHEN seeks to understand and amplify the human experience of what 'safe' feels like. The creator of this project, writer and choreographer, Jennifer Edwards, believes that if we want to build a more just, more 'safe' world, we need to unpack the various elements necessary to create truly 'safe space'. To do this, we need to invite as many people and perspectives into this conversation as possible. 


It is important to recognize that safety is foundational to every person’s success and, in fact, to the success of every student on campus.

To provide context, Jennifer, often refers to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, a broadly recognized model for human motivation. It is organized in a 5-layer pyramid - at its base are our physiological needs - food, shelter, sleep. Second, comes safety (or a sense of mental, emotional, physical security; and security in regards to health, family, and resources). Third is love and belonging. it is important to note that before we can feel as if we belong to a group, we must feel safe. This is vitally important when understanding and addressing the need to build a system in which students feel a sense of support, community and as though they are heard on campus. Students must first have a sense of safety.


It becomes even more interesting when we look at the final 2 sections of the pyramid. Forth is esteem, which entails respect of others, and self-confidence. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization - problem solving, creativity, and lack of prejudice. When we understand that safety underlies what sets students - and all of us - up for success, and when we self-identify the value of safety as individuals and as groups, then we can locate the places to begin to work on many of the larger social issues we face.