Here on the campus of UNC-Wilmington, the news of the Northern Illinois University shootings came as more of a shock to some than others. Many at UNCW are still hardened by what happened last April at Virginia Tech, only six hours from here. But for UNCW junior Scott Busiel, yesterday's shootings at NIU hit closer to home. "It was forty-five minutes from my house, so I knew friends that were there, I knew professors that were there so it was just crazy to think that this could happen," Busiel said. The Lincoln Hills, Illinois native said NIU is a common destination for many who graduate from his high school. He says he now understands how people felt last April, after a student killed 32 at Virginia Tech. "With the Virginia Tech incident I wasn't as closely related to the people that were involved and it was just kinda scary because this is on a closer scale to me," said Busiel. But many UNCW students weren't phased by the NIU shooting. Senior and North Carolina native Meredith Butterton says it was overshadowed. "I'm more numb to it than I think I should be because of how grave everything was before with Virginia Tech," Butterton said. "I don't think this is a freak incident," said Cindy Lawson, UNCW's chief spokesperson. "We've seen this at Columbine, we've seen this at Jonesboro, we've seen it at Virginia Tech." "We know these things are going to happen." Lawson says the best thing students and universities can do is be prepared. She said UNCW has implemented different security measures like sirens and emergency call stations. She says students and faculty also need to be more aware of their surroundings. "If you want to go on campus and hurt somebody else, that's nothing the university has control over," said UNCW senior Andrew Sherland. "You always got to be careful all the time. This doesn't change that." And as more of these incidents occur, more and more are getting that reality check. "You feel really safe on your campus and then something like this happens," Scott Busiel said. "It kind of brings more awareness to what's around us and makes us think." Lawson says UNCW has training sessions to help make students and faculty more aware of their surroundings and that the university will also send out blast emails and text messages to spread word of any campus emergencies.
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