Starting university or college is a life-changing experience. For many, going to school means moving to a new city, making new friends, and becoming part of student culture. With all the new information, experiences, and excitement of campus life, it’s still important to look out for your personal safety and security.
Common sense is a good start, but life on campus adds new, unfamiliar threats to your well-being. Here’s your essential guide to campus safety.
Meeting New People
University is a place you’ll make friends and connections to last a lifetime, so it’s great to approach the school year with an open mind and a friendly attitude. Just remember that there will always be people who try to take advantage of your outgoing nature, so don’t let your guard down altogether.
- Be careful with your personal information. Not everyone needs to know who you are, what your phone number is, or where you live. When in doubt, keep personal info to yourself.
- If you live on residence or in an apartment building, don’t let anyone in unless you know them. It may seem rude to close the door on someone, but it’s the smart thing to do. If they belong in the building, they’ll have no problem getting in without you.
- Be cautious of invitations from new people. You’re all trying to make new friends on campus, but don’t go to a party with someone you’ve just met. Hang out in public places while you get to know them.
Getting Around Campus
There’s a lot to see on campus, especially if you’re new to the city. Learning how to get around safely should be your first priority as a new student. In addition to giving you more time to sleep, learning the best ways to class ahead of time will make you safer day-to-day.
- Travel with friends if possible. There’s safety in numbers.
- Know where you’re going and walk with confidence. There are people who make a habit of preying on students who appear lost or confused.
- Be aware of your surroundings, and avoid distractions like music or phones.
- Download the campus map to your phone so you’ll never be lost.
- Find out what security services your campus offers. Many campuses have a security office, patrols, or illuminated emergency phones.
Safety at Home
Dorms and other forms of student housing begin to feel like home after a few nights, and the people around you start to feel like family. One of the best ways to make friends at school is to live on campus in your first year, but not everyone there is as outgoing as you. Treat your dorm room or apartment like any other living space, and keep it secure.
- Don’t prop doors open. In some buildings, it’s against fire regulations. It’s also the easiest way to encourage theft, and it puts your whole building in danger.
- Never give out your key or the building access codes. If someone needs access to your room, be there to let them in.
- Don’t let anyone follow you into your building. Unless you know that they live in the building, it’s okay to leave them out in the cold.
- Always lock doors and close windows, even if you’re only leaving for a minute. It only takes a few seconds for someone to enter through an unlocked door and find something to steal.
In addition to residence, parties are a great place to meet new people and connect with friends. Both the fun and the risks of partying are well known, but there are some specific things you can do to ensure that you stay safe and have a great time.
- Decide how much you’ll drink beforehand, and stick to it. Once you start drinking, it can be tempting to keep going. Your judgment is better beforehand, so set your limits early and quit while you’re ahead.
- Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know well. Open drinks are particularly dangerous, as you have no way of knowing what they might contain.
- According to a recent study, one in five opioid-related deaths in Ontario involved alcohol. While drugs are dangerous on their own, they’re even more lethal when you’re drinking.
- Always go to a party with trusted friends. You might be there to meet new people, but it’s important to have someone to look out for you while you mingle.
Keep on top of your social life and your safety this year by being prepared and following these safety tips on campus. If you have been the victim of assault or theft on campus, contact us today to find out how you can get the compensation you deserve.