Whether college is a new acquaintance for you or an old friend, here are nine tips to help you stay safe on campus as the new school year begins:
1. Get to Know Your Campus
Start exploring! A strong knowledge of your surroundings may make you feel safer on campus. Learning the locations of campus emergency phones/buttons, security, etc. and reviewing the safety information your college provides are great first steps in becoming acquainted with your campus.
2. Safety in Numbers
The old adage, “Safety in numbers,” is important to keep in mind. Walking with a friend from the library, class, or a party is a smart idea. If there isn’t anyone to walk with, don’t hesitate to call campus police for an escort.
Speaking of numbers, it’s also helpful to add the phone number of campus police and a local cab company to your contacts. That way, you’re always prepared!
3. Be Alert
In our digital world, it’s easy to get lost in checking texts, posting on Facebook, or rocking out to the latest hot jam on your phone. It’s important to pay attention to what’s happening around you. As you are walking, consider putting away your cell phone, taking off your headphones, or keeping the volume low so you can hear what’s going on.
4. Lock your Door
It’s great to feel comfortable in your dorm room or apartment. At the same time, you don’t want your comfort to interfere with your safety. Be sure to lock your door(s) and window(s) when you’re sleeping or away to keep yourself and your valuables safe.
5. Be Aware of Strangers
Meeting new friends is awesome, but remember that it’s important to get to know someone fairly well before you let them hang out in your dorm room. This will ensure that you and your things stay safe!
6. Riding with Drivers Under the Influence is ALWAYS a Bad Idea
Accepting a ride home from a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs is unacceptable in any situation. Always say no to drivers under the influence and don’t hesitate to stop a friend from driving while impaired. Walking with friends or calling a cab are go-to options.
7. Don’t Take Drinks or Food from Strangers
In a social situation, it’s best to know what’s in anything you are about to consume. Make your own food and drink or watch a person until they’re finished. If you set down a drink for any amount of time, get a new one.
8. Let a Friend Know You’re Leaving
If you’re heading out with different people than the ones you came with, let your friends know you’re leaving, where you’re heading, who you are going with, and when you plan to be home. It’s always helpful (and considerate) to keep everyone informed!
9. Avoid an “It Couldn’t Happen to Me” Attitude
Whatever college you are attending, whatever state you are living in, your personal safety needs to be a priority. Staying alert, being prepared, and taking your safety seriously are important.