First-time college students rely on various campus safety tips to navigate their first year. The first few weeks of the fall semester consist of making new friends, navigating campus, staying on top of classes and trying to find downtime in between. During this time, college students typically experience stress over the new and unfamiliar surroundings.
While completely natural, these feelings can take focus away from staying vigilant in your personal safety. According to a 2016 study done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Research and Development, approximately 70% of sexual assaults on college campuses occur during the first few weeks of being on campus.
This is referred to as the “red zone”; a time when predators capitalize on students being distracted by the rush of new surroundings.
Let us be clear; sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. But fortunately, there are several steps students can take to remain mindful and vigilant on campus.
Create a Safe Zone
A major part of the college experience is about making friends and building relationships with other students. During your first few weeks on campus, students need to focus on finding a support system while also helping them create their “safe zone”.
Students should stick close to these friends, and try to always travel with them when going out or walking around campus at night. Additionally, it’s always a good idea for them to share their location with 1 or 2 people on campus that they can trust. This could be a best friend, roommate, RA, or a sorority sister.
Establish Your Comfort Zone
While we know it’s easier said than done, students ultimately need to trust their gut feeling.
However, if they’re faced with a situation that’s out of their comfort zone, they need to know that they have the power to get out. Learn how to set firm boundaries and know what they’re comfortable with doing (and not doing)..
Don’t feel comfortable walking to the restroom alone? Ask a friend to go with you. Have the slightest concern about a drink somebody handed you? Don’t drink it!
Sticking to your gut feelings and keeping your situational awareness radar sharp can help students avoid dangerous situations.
Know the Safety Zone
Your campus has a universal security system with many student resources. Get to know these resources. It’s vital that students know where the campus safety offices are located, and where the blue emergency phones are around campus.
Many campuses also host safety nights & self-defense events for students to participate in and learn how to stay safe while on campus. However, these events don’t mean much if students aren’t aware of them. Promote these events through social media, campus-wide emails, fliers, and more!
Bring Situational Awareness to Your Student Body With These Campus Safety Tips
The unfortunately reality is that around 50 percent of sexual violence incidents on college campuses happen between August and November—more than any other time of year. There are many things to be done, and developing a vigilant mindset is one of them.
Want to bring a personal safety course to your campus? Stiletto Agency offers customized personal safety trainings for groups large or small. Contact us today to learn more!