A guide for staying safe at Penn State Harrisburg

globe fountain on campus
Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg offers new and returning students resources for staying safe on campus.

Follow public health and safety guidance related to COVID-19

Penn State requires all students, faculty, staff and visitors — including those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated — to wear masks indoors at all campuses.

Community members will be required to wear masks indoors, including in all classrooms — regardless of size — as well as in meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls, and at any indoor events. All individuals on campus will be permitted to eat in designated food service areas, and students living in residence halls will not be required to wear a mask in their living space. In accordance with CDC guidance, all individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation.

All Penn State students and employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and share their vaccination status with the University.

Penn State Harrisburg’s Virus Info website has more information.

Sign up for the emergency messaging service PSUAlert

Penn State Harrisburg uses an emergency alert messaging service, PSUAlert, to help get information to students, faculty, and staff during emergencies. This includes situations that present an ongoing threat to the campus and when events affect the campus’s ability to operate normally (during inclement weather, for example). This service is only used to deliver urgent information. 

To make changes to your account, visit the PSU Alert homepage, click the "Manage My Alerts" button, and sign in using your Penn State Access ID and password.

To ensure the fastest possible delivery of critical information to the Penn State Harrisburg community, the PSUAlert system is reserved for students, faculty, and staff. Through this system, these groups receive alerts at their Penn State-issued email address. Enrollees in the system may also opt to receive alerts by text message, at other email addresses, and by phone/voicemail.

Students may add parent/guardian/family member contact information to their PSUAlert accounts if they wish, but they must take the initiative to do so. Faculty and staff may do the same for a spouse, partner or family member.

The Clery Act, a federal law related to campus safety, requires that the entire campus community be alerted as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency. To help ensure the prompt delivery of alerts to the people directly affected by an incident on or near the campus, everyone is asked to limit the addition of others’ contact information when possible. Alert messages are also placed on public platforms.

In an emergency, notifications also are distributed on the campus and university websites, digital signage on campus, and on the college's Facebook and Twitter channels. Communications with the media also play a crucial role in getting information to the public in the event of an emergency.

For more information, visit the PSU Alert homepage. Additional questions can be sent to [email protected].

Know how to contact police

Students can and should call 911 for immediate assistance or life-threatening emergencies.

At Penn State Harrisburg, University Police can be reached at 717-948-6232. The police station is located at the north entrance of the Susquehanna Building. Additionally, you may file a crime report online.

Report any non-criminal campus safety concerns online. All reports will be reviewed by Penn State Harrisburg’s Safety Committee.

If you feel that a member of the campus community (visitor, student, staff, or faculty) presents behavior that is aggressive, disruptive, dangerous, or threatening to the health and safety of him/herself or others, contact the Behavioral Threat Management Team at 855‑863‑BTMT (2868) or 814‑863‑BTMT (2868).

Emergency phones are located throughout campus. They can be mounted on poles (topped by a blue light) or wall-mounted in elevators and hallways as a callbox. See a map of emergency phone locations.

More information can be found on the University Police and Public Safety page.

Personal Safety and Responsibility

Students should always be mindful of their personal safety and be responsible when on campus and in the community.

Whether you live on campus or off, always lock your doors to help safeguard against theft. Residence halls are equipped with safety systems to restrict access to residents only. If you have a bicycle, make sure it is properly locked and registered. Similarly, make sure items such as phones, laptops, wallets, and purses are not left unattended.

Please use sidewalks and designated walkways, respect private property, and adhere to community regulations to ensure your safety and the safety of others.

Near a major transportation hub, the campus neighborhood includes the airport and high-speed train travel. Please be reminded that walking on or near train tracks is dangerous, illegal, and could impact your enrollment at Penn State Harrisburg.

Safeguard your personal information

Phishing scams and phone scams unfortunately are common, so be sure not to give out your personal information, including your Penn State ID number and your passwords.

If you receive a strange email or phone call trying to get you to share personal information, even seemingly from someone you know and trust, it may very well be a phishing attempt.

Official law enforcement agencies, including University and local police, will never contact you demanding money under the threat of arrest — this is a common scam that can take many different forms.

If you’re unsure if something is legitimate, reach out to a trusted source or report the incident to University Police. You can report suspicious emails to [email protected]. To learn more about information security and what you can do to protect yourself online, visit security.psu.edu/phishing. If you believe you are a victim of such a scam, you should report it to police by calling 911 or using the online reporting form

Understand ‘Run, Hide, Fight’

Penn State has adopted an Active Attacker Response Program as part of the University’s ongoing commitment to the safety of those who are on University campuses to learn, live, work and visit.

Based upon the “Run, Hide, Fight” model developed by the city of Houston, Penn State’s Active Attacker Response Program offers the same three action steps if confronted with an active assailant, making it easy to remember and act upon in an emergency: run if you can, hide if you can’t, and fight as a last resort.

University Police and Public Safety has additional details on the “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol, including a step-by-step guide and training video, available at this page.

Understand the concept of ‘medical amnesty’

The first steps to avoid trouble with alcohol are not drinking while underage and, for those of legal age, to always use alcohol responsibly.

A reminder, the possession or use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all on-campus residence halls, including the Capital Village Apartments and Nittany Village, regardless of age.

However, Penn State policy and Pennsylvania law both protect underage individuals who make a report out of concern for the safety and well-being of a friend.

Under Pennsylvania’s Medical Amnesty Law and Penn State’s “responsible action protocol,” if someone calls the authorities out of concern for another person suffering from an alcohol or drug overdose, both the caller and the person in need of medical care are shielded from legal or disciplinary repercussions if the caller reasonably believes they are the first to call, provides their name, and stays with the person in need of medical attention until the authorities arrive.

Understand the importance of consent and what constitutes sexual assault

Sexual assault unfortunately does occur on college campuses across the nation, with a large percentage of those assaults occurring in the first weeks of the semester as new students are adjusting to college life.

The University offers guidance to all students on understanding consent, and the importance of obtaining consent before sexual activity, and resources available to survivors of sexual assault.

If you are ever the victim of sexual assault, Penn State Harrisburg has campus specific resources available to support and empower survivors. The Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response offers ways to report sexual misconduct, resources for victims, and information on how to support survivors. Victim/Witness Advocates are available to assist in incidents of sexual assault. Counseling Services is available to provide emotional and logistical support for crisis situations such as sexual assault at 717-948-6025. Survivors also can report the crime of sexual assault to University Police and Public Safety.