Security officers like Coulako Issouf are on a mission to make your day better

Editor’s Note: This article and video was initially published in February 2020.

College should feel like home. At NYU, you’ll recognize friends as you walk across campus. You’ll find favorite spots to read, and you’ll settle into satisfying routines. And, with NYU Campus Safety in your corner, you can also feel safe, because there’s always someone looking out for you. In fact, there are more than 300 NYU Campus Safety security officers, like Security Officer Coulako Issouf, on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She, along with NYU Campus Safety officers in buildings all over campus, will greet you on your way to class as she makes sure the building stays safe and secure. “I’m the first face everyone sees—the students, the staff, everyone. I love it,” she says. “My favorite part of the job is getting to know folks and who they really are. You know, what they’re studying. What’s their goal after graduation?”

For Officer Issouf, feeling safe is about not only knowing that you are secure but also knowing that people care about you. “We’re Campus Safety, but we’re also like a big sister or big brother,” she explains. “Students come and tell me if their day was bad.” She often gives out advice. Most importantly: “Go to sleep earlier,” she says. Or, if you’re feeling stuck: “Just go out. Go walk around the park with your friends and then come back and study.”

The Resources You Need to Feel Safe

And, of course, NYU Campus Safety prioritizes your security above all. Did you stay late at the library studying? They’ll give you a ride back to your residence hall through their Safe Ride service. Maybe you lost your NYU ID, that all-important key to every campus resource. Not to worry: they’ll help you replace it. Whether you’re looking for a lost item or are struggling with something more serious, you can turn to them. They also coordinate with all of NYU’s campuses and sites around the world, and they are always thinking about the bigger picture of safety and security so you don’t have to. But the bottom line for you is simple: “If you feel unsafe, in all our buildings, there’s always a campus safety officer,” says Officer Issouf. “There’s always someone to help you. Don’t be shy. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.”

Making the Most of New York City

Officer Issouf grew up in New York City, so she is an expert. Her advice? Be a tourist when you first get here. “Go to a Broadway show or ice-skate in Bryant Park,” she urges. “Go to Times Square to just hang and have ice cream—there are steps you can sit on there that are great for people-watching. Also, just walk around.” But she understands that some students can feel nervous about the idea of going to college in this big city. She has advice for that, too: “The more people, the merrier,” she says, and she suggests sticking with your friends until you’re comfortable and confident navigating the city, which will happen sooner than you think.

Cat has been telling NYU stories for nearly 10 years with NYU’s University Relations and Public Affairs Office of Marketing Communications and is constantly inspired by what the people of this community make real. She’s also a proud alum of the NYU MFA program in creative writing, and runs a literary magazine in her free time. When she needs to get away from words, she does work in her neighborhood gardens and parks.