College Safety

LockI’m sure that most of the high school graduates of 2010 who are planning on attending college in the fall are eager to get there. That’s how I felt last summer. I was excited to graduate from high school and even more excited to go onto college and create new memories and meet new friends. College can be very exciting indeed, and living on campus is a great experience. It gives you the opportunity to experience new things, but it also means that you will be responsible for your own safety.

College campuses are like a city within a city. Some campuses are so big that the buildings stretch up and down many city blocks. That’s what it’s like on the Boston University campus. There’s tons of people; students who live on campus, the ones who commute, and of course all of the visitors. Granted, not all college campuses are huge, but the safety concerns are similar. You’ll need to think about being safe while in your dorm and also while getting to and from classes and other places.

College life comes with a lot of freedom that you may or may not have had before. Maybe you never had to worry about your safety, but at college it’s a big priority. For example, if you’re out late at night, avoid alleyways and walk in well-lit areas. Most college campuses have an escort security program where they will provide a security escort to students. You should take advantage of this service and use it when you’re walking alone, particularly at night. Many college campuses also have emergency phones at different locations so you can call for immediate help if you need it.

Another thing, remember when you were in elementary school and your teachers made you use the “buddy system”? Well this system still works! When going out have a buddy or friend that you can walk or travel with, go to parties with, etc. and make a safety plan. Tell your roommate or a friend where you are going and what time you think you might be back, and make sure you call them if your plans change. That way if anything happens the police will have information to help you.

Aside from keeping yourself safe, you’ll want to protect your belongings and keep your valuables secure. This means that you should always keep your dorm room locked if you are not there and never leave money out in the open or your laptop unattended. For example, if you take your laptop to the library, you might consider getting a lock for it so you can secure it to a table. You should also write down all the serial numbers of your valuables so you will have a record just in case anything gets stolen.

More campus safety tips:
Moving around on campus
Know your college campus. Find out the safest, most well-lit route to take if you are walking at night.
Use your judgment and walk with a buddy or friend when it is dark and during the day if the surroundings are questionable.
Call for a security escort if you feel at all unsafe either alone or with a friend.
Avoid using a headset or earphones when walking so you can be alert to your surroundings.
If someone is following you, cross the street and go into a store or residence (if possible) or flag down a passing car.
Keep your cell phone charged and carry it with you in case you need to call for help.
Report any suspicious activity to campus police.

Staying safe in your dorm room
Lock your door when you are not in your room and keep windows locked if you are on the street level.
Replace the lock on your dorm room if you lose your key or if your keys are stolen.
Use the peephole (if you have one) and use caution before you open your door to a stranger.
Make sure you have good lighting near the entrance to your dorm and in the hallways inside.
If you don’t have adequate lighting, tell your RA.

Congratulations to the class of 2010! I hope you have a great and safe freshman year.