Tips For Staying Safe on Campus

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With less daylight becoming the norm in winter, the opportunity for danger arises. Criminals using the extra length of darkness to mask their crimes take advantage during fall Daylight Savings. People who leave from their daily duties will be more focused on reaching their destinations rather than paying attention to the visibility of offenders.  

Schools are no exception to the above – forms of inflicted assault and violence were found to be higher on school days than on non-school days. We at ISO value the safety of every one of our members, and we’d like to provide this guide so that you can keep yourself safe on campus. 

Take Precaution Before Leaving in the Morning

Take Precaution Before Leaving in the Morning

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes” – Zig Ziglar, American Author 

  1. Share your whereabouts – informing a close friend or family member of your location at night can be valuable should anything happen. One fast way to do this is by using the “Send My Current Location” feature on iMessage if you own an iPhone.  
  2. Plan your route – Sometimes, the best way from point A to point B may not be the fastest, but the safest. If you are in a state that lacks footpaths or sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic so you can use your eyes to pick up any cars passing by in front of you.  
  3. Can’t be seen? Make yourself seen – Wearing reflective clothing or accessories at night can provide visual aid to drivers or other pedestrians who would not otherwise see you. (Don’t worry, they can be stylish too.) 

Campus Resources are Your Best Friend

Part of any college student’s tuition goes to campus resources that are meant to ensure their safety. Here are some ways to take advantage of what your school has to offer: 

  1. Take a ride – most campuses will provide methods of inter-campus transportation, primarily shuttle services. They rely on strict travel schedules, so you don’t have to worry about missing the bus. If you use ride sharing apps to get around, have your driver confirm your name before getting in their car. 
  2. Save emergency numbers – during orientation, security or your orientation leader will give you an emergency number to contact in serious situations. Make sure you have this number saved, as security can even act as an escort to bring you somewhere on campus if you feel unsafe. 
  3. Multipurpose mobile apps – college mobile applications are a one-stop shop covering several aspects of campus life, but they have been modeled in recent years to provide security measures that swiftly alert your location to the appropriate authorities. 

Safety in Dark Spaces

Practice Safety in Dark Spaces

Going out at night may feel intimidating, but don’t let that deter you. 

  1. Go with a friend – Grabbing food? Doing laundry? Find someone who will commit to a buddy system with you and take them everywhere. Bonus points if they’re also an international student, because they can also act as a good reference through ISO, which’ll earn you $10 for future purchases! 
  2. Maintain spatial awareness – As glued to our phones as most of us are, you should take the time to gauge your surroundings for any potential dangers, or to oversee the area where you are walking.  
  3. Distribute your resources – If you truly feel that you may encounter something dangerous when you are outside, you can also place your valuables in various places. Sock money is still money, right? 

Acting in Emergency Situations

Sometimes, preparing and knowing your resources may not be enough. Emergencies are very spur of the moment, so in those cases, try these out: 

  1. If you see something, say something (or don’t) – As an addition to maintaining spatial awareness, if you see something dire happening in front of you, we ask you to trust your best instinct, which should be to avoid confrontation for your own safety.  
  2. Need assistance quickly? – Both Apple and Android phones offer quick methods to notify emergency services with shortcuts as easy as spamming your power button. 
  3. Be resourceful – Small household items like keys, pens, and even your phone can be used to ward off dangerous situations if they are unavoidable. Saving your life is worth losing Candy Crush, trust us. 

Presenting Yourself Means Protecting Yourself

Sometimes, you have to let your body do the talking. 

  1. Move with confidence – walking with your head held high and avoiding eye contact reduces chances of distraction and provocation of someone else. 
  2. Be expressive – Your mask might cover up most of your face, but like the last tip, looking confident is just as crucial as acting the part. 
  3. If at any point you feel you cannot escape a dangerous situation, scream (yes, really), and act like your life depends on it. Alerting everyone nearby to where you are will likely scare off any attackers, which is a good tradeoff for startling nearby pedestrians.  

Winter is a special time to experience one’s first snowfall, enjoying the holiday lights, or just having an ugly sweater party with your friends, so we want danger to be in the back of your mind.  However, well-being should always remain your number one priority, so keep yourself covered, just like your ISO plan. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry”.  

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