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Monday, Mar 4, 2024
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How to stay safe on campus

Page Arrington shows her self defense weapon to ward off attackers. Weapons such as a small metal rod or pepper spray are safe to carry around campus in case of emergencies.
Page Arrington shows her self defense weapon to ward off attackers. Weapons such as a small metal rod or pepper spray are safe to carry around campus in case of emergencies.

After countless lectures and motivational posters, college students can become desensitized to the importance of safety. But as these last few weeks have exemplified, someone's safety could be threatened in an instant. Though some outside factors cannot be controlled, it is a student’s responsibility to learn everything they can to protect themselves. In other words, reading this article could be the difference between life and death.

There are an astounding number of websites like HerCampus or U.S. News that put together lists of the top 10 ways to stay safe on campus. Luckily, I’ve read all of them and am here to summarize.

Never walk alone at night. If you’re going out, know where you are going and tell your friends. Make sure your phone is charged. Be cautious, especially of strangers. Always be aware of your surroundings. Check the back of your car before you get in. Don’t post your location when you are alone.

Technology has changed safety in the past couple years.

I like to listen to loud music. With my headphones in, there could probably be a firefight behind me, and I would continue obliviously bopping along. The realization that while I’m jamming someone could easily engineer a sneak attack has subsided my enthusiasm for loud music. My well-being outweighs my desire to listen to Kelly Clarkson on full blast.

Phones have the tendency to make us unaware. Staring at your screen while you walk can feel comforting, but it is hazardous when you become oblivious to the people who could be lurking around you and the shifts in the pavement that could cause you to face plant.

However, phones can also be beneficial in sticky situations. If you are walking home alone, (which we’ve already established you shouldn’t do, but we all make mistakes) call someone. Get your mom, or your friend or the guy from Pizza Hut on the phone and keep talking to them until you are safely back in your room. If something goes wrong, they will know to get help right away.

There is also an SOS safety feature for iPhones and Samsung devices you can turn on when you feel threatened and it immediately calls emergency services if you are not responsive. For more information, look up the directions for your specific phone.

For the less faint of heart, there are tools you can carry with you like pepper spray or a taser to help with safety and peace of mind. Self-defense classes can also be beneficial and empowering.

In an effort to up my safety game, I took a Krav Maga class at the University Center with the hopes that I could fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a Power Ranger. Though a life of fighting crime is not in my future, I did learn how to utilize my elbows if I’m ever grabbed from behind.

It is better to overreact than underreact to an unsafe situation. If you feel unsafe or want to report suspicious activity, call the Mercer Police Department at 478-301-(4357).


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