Back To Campus Safety Tips
By Derek Field
In the next few weeks, students will be making the trek to their college campuses, some for the very first time. College is a very exciting time, not only to continue your education to invest in your future, but you get the chance to meet new people, find new interests, and have more independence in your daily life.
College course loads can be quite daunting, however, a potentially greater challenge is making sure we have not only a “fun” experience at college, but a safe one as well. Here are some tips for students returning to campus this fall.
- Be familiar with the layout of your campus: Know how to get where you need to go. Know which buildings house your classes, and the easiest and safest way to get there. Also, being aware of where any campus emergency systems are located, as well as the campus police station, is very important. Watch out for low-light or isolated areas at night. Stick to well-lit and busy areas. If there is a campus escort or shuttle service, even better!
- Use the buddy system: It is always a good idea to have someone with you, even better a group, to get to and from where you need to go - especially at night. Giving a trusted friend or family member your class schedule, where you might be going out at night, as well as when you expect to be back, is a good practice to get into. Also, make sure you know emergency numbers, and are enrolled in your campus notification system where available.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times: Modern technology has made this, quite honestly, a weak point for many of us. Headphones or earbuds in, most of them noise cancelling, combined with your head down looking at your phone, can make someone oblivious to their surroundings and literally a target to someone with nefarious intent. Keep your head up and turn the volume down a bit, so you can stay aware of what is going on around you.
- Secure your dorm room: The doors and locks in your dorm should be used! Avoid keeping your doors open so people could freely walk in or out. Lock those doors - especially at night. Keep any valuables, as well as room keys, wallets, identification, etc..out of sight so they do not get swiped. Any malfunctioning doors/locks/windows should be reported immediately to the appropriate campus personnel. Also, get to know your neighbors and RA!
- Increase your defense-ability: It is better to have a tool and not need it, rather than need a tool and not have it. The hope is that you are never in a position where you have to truly defend yourself from an attacker, however there is no guarantee that it will or won’t happen. Carrying some type of self-defense keychain, whistle, or even pepper spray (where legal) could give you an edge in a potential situation. As I tell my self-defense students, you should not carry a weapon that you do not know how to use. Training with a self-defense tool, as well as you yourself enrolling in a self-defense course to increase your own ability to fight, is highly recommended.
Hopefully these safeguards can help make sure that you have a safe, productive, and fun year on campus this year. Best of luck everyone!