Since September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month, and August is coming to an close, it’s a good time to bring awareness to students about this topic. Campus safety is so important because it ensures that students are getting education they deserve without having safety issues. A lot of this is common sense, but read on please! It’s good to be reminded and learn more on the subject of personal safety.
What are some current issues impacting college campuses?
High risk drinking, illegal drug use, prescription drug abuse, sexual assault, stalking, relationship violence, hazing, hate crimes, cyber security, and fire safety.
Tips on how to be safe on campus using your Smartphone
Advances in technology have led to unlimited resources and tools that can be used to improve our lives. As you could imagine, there are hundreds of apps dedicated to campus safety. After looking through so many of them, I came to the conclusion that the bSafe app was my favorite.
After downloading the app, the first step is to set as many friends and family members as you want into your “safety net.” If you ever find yourself in danger all you have to do is tap the SOS button that is downloaded onto your phone when you get the app. After pressing that button, an alarm is triggered (which is optional) and the app starts recording video and voice, as well as broadcasting your location to your safety net contacts.
This would come in handy if you are traveling to a new town with unfamiliar surroundings and wanted to notify your friends and family when you have safely arrived. You can also have the app “follow” you so that you never have to walk alone. This allows your friends and family to walk with you via a live GPS trace.
I could go on and on about all the features on this app, but for the blog’s sake I am going to talk about only one more. bSafe has a fake call feature, which I find to be so interesting and helpful. If you ever go on a blind date or are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable you can get a fake call from bSafe. After typing in the contact you want to show up, you can also choose when you want to be called. This allows you to be purposely interrupted, which you might find useful.
There’s always the option to just say “I need to go” and excuse yourself. It’s an interesting app feature for sure, but I’d like to point out that it’s probably not the best idea to rely solely on an app to get out of an unpleasant situation. Personal safety also requires being self-aware and trusting your sixth sense. In other words, taking self-protective action such as removing yourself when needed and not being intimidated or manipulated, right?
There are more apps similar to bSafe, including BlueLight and EmergenSee.
Tips on how to be safe on campus without your smart phone
1. Get familiar with your campus (know where the blue phones are)
College campuses can be large and confusing, that is why I advise you (in the daylight) to walk around and get familiar with your surroundings. Take a test-run route from your dorm to classes to gym, student center, etc. Learn your way around. One of the most important things you can learn the location of is the blue phones or buttons. Most colleges have these blue phones scattered around the campus for you to pick up if you feel like you are in danger.
The phone is automatically directed to campus security. There are other variations of the blue phone, including a button which sends campus security instantaneously. Getting familiar with your campus will prevent you from getting lost. If you do find yourself lost, carry a map around with you.
2. Use a backpack or book bag
Overloading your hands with books can peg you as an easy target. If you put all your belongings in a backpack or book bag, you can get rid of distractions by having your arms and hands full.
3. Listening to music or talking on the phone
Walk on to any college campus and see how many students are wearing headphones or talking on the phone as they walk. It’s really great! And, both of these habits can make you less aware or not aware at all depending on the volume or your concentration level. This type of distraction can pose personal safety issues from walking through parking lots, crossing streets, or being susceptible to theft or attack.
4. If you’re 21 years or older, watch your drink! (Seriously)
I am sure you have heard this time and time again, but it is so important that you do hear it again. I’ve heard countless stories of my friends being at a bar, having one drink, and waking up with no memory of the previous night. Having the “it won’t happen to me mentality” is not smart in this scenario because it can happen to anyone. The Crime Victims Assistance Network Foundation (iCAN) conducted a survey among 176 college women and 37% reported at least one drug or alcohol related sexual assault experience. To prevent this from happening, go to parties or bars with friends. Develop a buddy system where no friend gets left behind. Leaving your drink unattended or accepting a drink in an open container or from anyone beside the bartender is not a best practice.
Never take your safety for granted. Make sure you check out safety procedures with your school.
As Blogger and budget aficionado, Tara K. helps students across the country enhance their knowledge about money management and everyday life. She is constantly looking for new ideas to transform into great advice for you. Pursuing a journalism major, Tara K. has a passion for the art of inquiry, which is conveyed through her writing.