You may know him as the person who sends emails about parking or anything to do with campus security and safety. The man is campus security, literally. Peter Boerema is Director of Campus Safety and Environmental health and the only non-student member on security.
Boerema graduated in 2004 from Northwestern with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. He was sure he was going to pursue medical school, but after job shadowing a doctor, he realized that wasn’t the life he really wanted. Prior to working for NW, he worked for Trans Ova Genetics in Sioux Center, where he worked on genetic modifications in multiple species. In 2013, he saw a job opening in The Classic for safety and environmental health and decided to apply.
“As a student, I remember thinking it would be really great to work here,” Boerema said. Boerema has great memories at Northwestern. He appreciated the professors who challenged him both academically and spiritually and the friendships he built. While being a chemistry tutor, he even met his wife, Megan.
Boerema said it was great coming back, but admitted that he had no idea what security entailed when he first arrived. He was therefore quite impressed by what the students were able and willing to teach him.
“I saw how important it was for them; they knew where to go and what to check for,” Boerema said.
Jennifer Koehn, a senior elementary education major, said that Boerema cares greatly for the security of this campus as well as for his employees.
“I remember when I said something about not feeling safe working alone at night, Pete immediately found someone to work with me,” Koehn said.
Since starting this job, Boerema has further educated himself on security-related issues and has attended conferences that have discussions specifically geared to all types of scenarios, such as campus shootings.
Boerema said that the information he learns, he applies it to training residence life staff and new employees. Boerema explained that often these situations are preventable, which is why the training is focused on them. Nonetheless, in other types of suspicious activity, students should call the police immediately before contacting him.
Josue Argueta, 2014 NW alumnus, worked with Boerema for only a semester but still remembers how he would emphasize, “doing everything right and working hard on everything you do.” Argueta, who is now a high school football strength and conditioning coach, said he emphasizes the same concept at his job.
However, Boerema isn’t just passionate about keeping our campus safe.
“Music is a huge passion of mine,” Boerema said. “At Northwestern, I was in band for four years.”
After graduation, Boerema became first chair in the Northwest Iowa Sympathy Orchestra and has continued to serve, withthe orchestra now in its 11th season. Not to mention, he occasionally still joins the band and plays drums or guitar for his church.
For the future, Boerema says that all new buildings will have card swipe security system in addition to cameras. He also hopes to have some type of app that will aid him in reaching students immediately.
Boerema said he personally will continue to focus on self-improvement.
“I think there is always that goal of self-improvement. Becoming better at your job, becoming a better husband, father, even a better Christian. I hope to continue to learn what God wants from us, what you passions are and what you enjoy in life and how to discover that with other people.”
Boerema, although deeply interested in campus security, still pursues his passion of science by helping teach science labs, where he really enjoys being part of the lives of students. Boerema is thinking about pursuing a graduate degree in the next five to 10 years.
“We know what we’re good at, but things change, wrenches get thrown in, and you have to follow where you’re being led,” Boerema said.