With college starting up again soon, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement of a new semester. But while you are preparing for a busy year of studies, extracurricular activities, and socializing, it is important to also keep safety in mind. According to the US Department of Education, there were a total of 36,248 crimes reported at over 11,000 campuses in 2015—a really daunting number. But if you have a plan, it will be much easier to stay safe at college.
Related: Top Campus Safety Tips
Know how to reach campus security
All colleges and universities have police or security officers whose job is to keep a safe environment on campus. They mainly patrol the institution, keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity, but they also investigate various cases that happen on campus and are available to escort students around campus at night. If you have witnessed or been the victim of a crime, they are among the first who should be notified in order to take action. Therefore, you should know the different ways to contact them, including their phone number and office location. Whether or not you ever need campus security, it is vital to have that information on hand.
Use the buddy system
There is a reason people say there’s safety in numbers. If you go out at night, whether to a party or the library, it is a lot better to go in a group. Not only are you less likely to be the victim of a crime when you are surrounded by friends, but it is easier to be safe with friends. If you go to a party and are drinking (which you should only do if you are 21 or over), you should also have a designated driver, which not only prevents accidents but can keep you out of trouble too. You can really keep an eye out for each other in a group as well, making sure you drink responsibly and stay away from any dangerous stuff that might be going on, including underage drinking or the use of illegal narcotics.
Remember party safety
Chances are that sometime in your college experience, you are going to go to a few parties. And you are going to definitely have fun. But it is super important to know how to be responsible and safe throughout the party. Again, it is important to emphasize that if you go drinking, you should be 21. If you decide to drink at a party, there are a couple things to do. One, as mentioned earlier: have a designated driver. It is a lot safer for not only you but anyone else you run into on the road. Two: do not accept drinks from strangers. It is best to get your drink yourself, because that almost completely eliminates the chance of someone slipping something into your drink. But if you don’t, be sure to take drinks from only people who you trust, and never leave your drink unattended. And please, stay away from drugs. Not only are most illegal, but they can have horrible repercussions for your health. If you feel uncomfortable at a party, it is okay to leave. No one is going to be upset, and your safety is always the most important.
Related: The Do’s and Don’ts of College Partying
Please, keep all of this in mind while preparing for college. Being safe is going to make enjoying campus life a lot better. And if you have been the victim of a crime, please notify your security officers and surround yourself with people who support you.