Fall term is in the air! As the seasons change, another fresh start for college students begins. It’s an exciting time. There are classes to sign up for, books to buy, stuff to move in and roommates to get acquainted with. Through all the fun of experiencing something new, it can be easy to forget about personal safety. Everyone is friendly and welcoming and there’s campus security to stand guard and protect. That may be all true but once off campus if can be a different story. One of our editors covers how to stay safe on campus as well as off.
Living in the halls of residence are generally pretty safe environments. They’re on campus and usually, there is campus security patrolling. If coming home late from work, a party or studying at the library call a friend to walk back with. Friends busy? Call campus security, that’s what they’re there for. When you arrive at your dorm, don’t let someone you don’t know follow in behind you. Call your RA and let them know if there’s someone suspicious hanging around.
During the day make sure the room door is locked when no one’s in, same goes for the windows. Yes, there are better social opportunities if the door is kept open, but even if you and your roommates are in different rooms on the same floor it still leaves your belongings open for theft. As a community, we can’t live without our technology and they’re easy items to steal. Get a small safe from Target or Wal-mart. Don’t trust your roommates? Have a discussion with them first, or if you’ve got evidence of seeing them steal something of yours, go straight to your RA. Chances are it’ll be a misunderstanding and it’s better to be up front with them instead of placing blame and causing a fuss.
The rules of being safe off campus are the same for small just as much as big universities in a quite town or big city. Generally, it’s never a good idea to walk around late at night. Use the buddy system especially when leaving parties. Always watch your drink (if drinking) NO EXCUSES, it’s a dangerous situation no one should be in. If you’re stuck at the party alone it’s perfectly ok to call 911 and asked to be transferred to the local police department. It’s not unusual for an officer to escort students home. As long as they aren’t publicly intoxicated or driving, the bottom line is that the police want party goers to get home safely just as much as anyone else.
If you have to walk home alone, don’t talk on a cell phone or listen to an iPod, the action is distracting and makes you a vulnerable target. Stay alert and focus calmly on reaching your destination. The goal is not to draw attention but to get home safely. Use common sense; stay on main streets or where there are street lights. College is full of new experiences but stay smart with your choices!