How to Stay Safe During a Campus Crisis

Assistant Editor, Online Specialist, Carnegie Communications

Sep   2012



What are some ways you personally can prepare in case there's a crisis on campus?

Subscribe to alert services

The use of technology on campuses has increased exponentially over the past decade, and you should absolutely subscribe to these simple, free alerts. The minute you move into your dorm, check out your school's website and find what kind of emergency contact services they offer. Some common methods found on campuses include:

  • Text messaging
  • E-mail alerts
  • Live feed pages typically found on college websites

Be aware of campus procedures

A loud, wailing alarm means nothing if you’re completely unaware of campus procedures. Take the time to learn campus emergency procedures. Your resident assistant (RA) is a great resource when it comes to a range of things like:

  • Evacuation routes
  • Fire procedures
  • Dorm and campus safety
  • Emergency contacts (security, police, medical staff, etc.)

Student housing organizes welcome meetings during and around orientation for a reason—pay attention to specific details regarding emergency situations. Be sure to educate yourself if you live off campus and don’t have access to meetings or residence e-mail lists.

Take every warning seriously

You’ve heard the story of “the boy who cried wolf.” There may be many false alarms on your campus—I still get constant text alerts from my college for a “suspicious package” that’s always dismissed—but always be weary. At the very least, be aware of what’s happening on campus, and though it might not involve a drastic change of plans on your behalf, just being attentive is the first step to keeping yourself safe in a crisis. Our generation is already constantly attached to our smartphones, so use it to your advantage with regards to campus safety. 

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About Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin is the Digital Media Project Manager at Harvard University, formerly the Assistant Editor, Online Specialist for Carnegie Communications. Catherine graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism, a minor in English, and course concentrations in business. She was previously an in-depth arts reporter for Penn State’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Collegian, and interned as a features reporter at a paper based in Southern Massachusetts. Catherine previously had a full-year internship with a well-known higher education PR firm. Her favorite experiences during college include her two years as a resident assistant and her involvement in THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. There, she was on the PR committee that helped THON become the third most tweeted topic worldwide. When she isn’t working, you can find Catherine shopping, reading, running, or updating her social media pages.

You can circle Catherine on Google+, follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to her CollegeXpress blog.