Instead of Providing “Safe Spaces” This University Teaches Survival Skills

student_hidingBy Daisy Luther

Once upon a time, the goal of higher education was to prepare kids for life, but in past decades they’ve gotten further and further from that path. Now, in an era of crybabies and safe spaces, one university teaches survival skills and is completely bucking the status quo.

Frostburg State University has a freshman-level interdisciplinary course called Doomsday Preppers and Surviving the Unexpected Emergency, playing off the popularity of the National Geographic Channel’s show of the same name. In the class, Recreation and Parks Management Professor Robert Kauffman teaches disaster preparedness to help the kids get ready for a variety of scenarios. Kauffman is the author of a paper about “the rescue curve” that discusses the point at which injury, damage or loss can increase as time between an incident and an intervention increases. The class is now in its second semester of preparing students for emergencies, and the professor plans to continue it next year. Here’s a little bit more about the course:


In Kauffman’s class, he uses clips from “Castaway” and “Blast From the Past” among others to augment his examples of the psychological and physical effects of disaster preparedness.

As January’s snowstorm demonstrated, these skills come in handy whether stranded on a highway or isolated in your neighborhood.

Among the assignments in IDIS 150, students have to plan for short-term disasters and one-year disasters, take inventory of their food at home, design a shelter, determine how much in supplies and food they need, organize communication tools and, yes, learn how to prep for life in an underground bunker. But it’s the more likely scenarios that Kauffman really hopes the students will be prepared for.

“It is a reprocessing of your camping skills. Really, what we did is take the old-fashioned camping course and repackaged it,” Kauffman said. “The real emphasis is surviving the unexpected emergency we could be thrust into anytime, our car breaking down on the road, being stranded at a rest stop, or we just had a storm where people were stranded for three days.”

Ebersole, of New Enterprise, Pa., found the course helpful for when he goes hunting in the winter. He now makes sure he has an extra coat and supplies in his car for unexpected situations. It was a simple exercise in class that showed him why it’s important to have extra supplies.

“We pulled out everything from our pockets, and whatever you had with you at the time is what you’ll have during an emergency,” he said.

He also was well-prepared for the January snowstorm in part thanks to the class, having stocked up on enough food and supplies to make it until his neighborhood’s streets were cleared.

These kids are being prepared for actual life, toughening up by considering the possibilities, and gaining the confidence that comes from being ready to meet challenges.

Liberal Institutions of Wussification

This is in sharp contrast to what many colleges are teaching these days. Instead of nurturing competent kids into adults that can go out and conquer the world, they’re wrapping them in cotton and turning them into wusses who require shelter from mean words.

Just last week, Rutgers University was the scene of a dramatic protest with an aftermath that required trauma counseling. If you’re wondering what awful thing happened, there was a guest lecturer who hurt some of the students feelings. In protest, they smeared blood on their faces, because words. Words had wounded them.

Afterward, they had to seek help in a group therapy session to deal with the trauma of listening to another opinion. Many students said in the aftermath that they were fearful as they slunk around the campus for days after the event.

Protesters at the University of Missouri required a “safe space” to recuperate from the rigors of protesting, in which no one could say mean things to them and the media couldn’t report on them.

So unbelievably gutless are many young adults that numerous guides have been written about how to keep from offending, treading upon, or discriminating against anyone. (You can see a list of these guides here so you can laugh at them follow the new rules of conduct.)

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Matthew McConaughey gave the 2015 commencement speech at the University of Houston, and may not be invited back. “Life’s not fair. It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not.”

What do you think kids should be learning to prepare them for adult life?

If we really wanted kids to be prepared for an adult life full of accomplishments and freedom, we’d teach them that overcoming obstacles is the route to success, not hiding under your blankie. Never have I seen it so well said than in this essay by a combat veteran Marine.

If you were designing a course for life for kids stepping into adulthood, what would that course teach? Disaster preparedness? How to handle your finances? How to budget? Home economics? Shop? It seems that none of these things is included in education anymore, and we’re sending kids out into the world completely unprepared, deeply in debt, and unable to find employment.

No longer do youngsters seek adventure and live to tell the tale (at least not without someone getting arrested or taken away by CPS). Helicopter parenting and “higher education” are lowering the thresholds of common sense and, well, cajones. These coddled, wimpy kids could be the sensitive future leaders of our country, an alarming thought at best.

The course at Frostburg is a refreshing change from the tripe we’re seeing in the news from other colleges. I would much rather send my kids to a place where the headline is “University Teaches Survival Skills” than one that says “University Creates Safe Spaces for Word-Wounded Students.”

Here’s hoping that other schools follow their lead.

Image Credit

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter.

  • William Burke

    Gotta love Matthew McConaughey. Avid Washington Redskins fan, too.

    • Kerry Jackson

      From Texas? UNBELIEVABLE.

      • rhuland

        We still raise some ruged individuals here in Texas, when you get out into the hinterland.

  • gweneth

    Imagine – teaching the kiddies something useful – KUDOS :-)

  • John Cook

    It’s the endgame – they can’t go much further in the destruction of the kids minds/souls.

  • pancho

    Thank you. Well said.

  • John Cook

    That speech to the graduating class is Brilliant!

  • rhuland

    Now I know where I’d send a college-bound student if I had one to send. I believe it was from Robert Heinlein that I first read “The world is not fair, and anyone who told you so was lying to you.” or words to that effect. Maybe Heinlein should be required reading in high school lit.

  • InklingBooks

    Great idea! My first PE course in college was called swimming but it was really about drown-proofing. It taught us a host of ways to stay afloat and the final was applying all of them and staying afloat 45 minutes in very choppy water without a break. The result is that I’m far less likely to panic in a water emergency. Whatever I need to do is not a well-honed reflex. Everyone needs that.

    Alas, that school, Auburn University, doesn’t even require PE classes anymore. No drown-proofing. No nothing. Pitiful.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Across Asia on a Bicycle

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