While college campuses are some of the safest places to live, there are still some precautions students should take to ensure their college experience remains a safe one with great memories that last a lifetime. There are some easy, common sense steps that a student could take to remain safe in and around the campus. Here are ten tips every college student should know and consider before the start of a new school year:
- Share allergy or health information with your roommates. Program each other’s emergency contact information into your cell phones. This information may become vital to emergency responders during a medical emergency.
- Write down and save campus safety/campus police phone numbers for easy accessibility. There may be times when you run across suspicious situations when a call to 911 may not be required. Having these numbers handy will make you more apt to report these types of circumstances so they could be checked out by authorities.
- Know where campus emergency phones are located on campus should you need to access one quickly. Find out the locations of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). AEDs are easy to use and can save the life of someone suffering from cardiac arrest.
- Don’t broadcast personal information or your whereabouts on social media. I know this is in vogue; however, criminals and predators look for this information in order take advantage of people or commit crimes against them. Only share this information with your family and close circle of friends.
- Travel in groups. When attending social events on or off campus, travel with at least one other person and stay together as a group. Make a pact to look out for each other and never leave a fellow student in a vulnerable situation.
- If you do have to go somewhere alone for any reason, always let friends and family know where you are going and when you plan on returning. A quick text is all it takes. If for some reason you don’t come back when expected, someone could start checking in on you.
- Don’t put your beverage down while at a party or social event and don’t drink the punch! They could be spiked with unknown substances. Bottled drinks are safest.
- Party responsibly. Illegal substances could kill. They are often homemade by people who have no idea what they are doing. Getting high is not worth risking your life.
- Never accept a ride from a stranger, especially if you are intoxicated. You never know someone’s intentions. Instead, call a friend or family member to come pick you up.
- Become familiar with campus lock-down and evacuation procedures. Take drills very seriously. Sign-up for campus alerts so you know when an emergency is taking place in or around campus.
The college experience is one of the most significant time periods in someone’s life. Students should not have to worry about their safety. However, recent events have shown that safety should be a serious consideration for all college students. Following these ten steps will help ensure that the college experience remains a happy and healthy one.
David Jannetty is the Academic Program Manager for the John P. Burke School of Public Service Master of Public Administration program at Post University, and is a retired assistant deputy police chief with the Waterbury, CT Police Department. Jannetty has 22 years of experience in law enforcement, school and workplace safety, and emergency management.