Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in First Year Studies


First-Year and Transition Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Jennifer Wells

Additional Committee Member

Marshal Chaifetz

Additional Committee Member

Dr. Sherill Hayes


There is a growing focus on emergency preparedness on college campuses. Millions of students attend colleges and universities across the United States and emergencies will most likely occur during their time in college. To measure the understanding of basic emergency preparedness among first-year college students, this study used a qualitative exploratory research design and was conducted by way of open-ended interviews in order to gain an initial understanding of a decision-making environment and to help develop appropriate courses of action. It focused on collection of data from a small number of respondents by asking questions and observing behavior. As a result of this study, it was found that students have some basic preparedness knowledge, feel safe on their college campus, and have confidence in their campus public safety and emergency management officials to maintain continued emergency preparedness efforts across campus. This study also found that colleges and universities must continue to recommend and offer classes and programs for students, faculty and staff so that more people are prepared for emergencies. The results implicate that university administration and emergency management personnel must continue to support students in their preparedness efforts and to promote proactive preparedness behavior.