5 Essential Campus Safety Tips for the New School Year

Posted by Katie Brown on 13 September 2016 |

five campus safety tipsAs summer comes to a close and a new school year begins, students, faculty and staff have a lot to look forward to on campus: cooler weather, new classmates and colleagues, new housing and a new course schedule.

But on the flip side, a Safe Supportive Learning report points out that the first six weeks of the academic year are when students engage in high risk behaviors such as alcohol consumption, drug use and hazing. The beginning of the year is also the highest risk time for sexual assault.

In fact, a 2014 article from Inside Higher Ed detailed that in the first few weeks of the year, “at least eight first-year students at U.S. colleges died due to alcohol-related incidents.” So while it’s an exciting time, it’s also important to start off the year on the right foot.

Educational and social aspects are important to a successful school year, but what are you doing to ensure your safety while on campus? From the students and staff to faculty and families, everyone has a role in contributing to campus safety.

What Does Campus Safety Matter?

For the first time in 2015, U.S. News Report Best Colleges Rankings included campus crime statistics, including criminal offenses and arrest, either on campus or in non-campus buildings used by students. In fact, most colleges and universities are required by law to report statistics related to campus crime to the U.S. Government each year.

Faculty, students, parents and staff are taking campus safety into account when they are determining which school to work for or enroll in. With these concerns in mind, how can you ensure safety for you, your students and faculty.

5 Essential Tips for Campus Safety

When it comes to preventing crime-related incidents, such as theft, sexual assault or physical and verbal violence, there are a variety of ways people can ensure campus safety—for both themselves and the people around them.

1. Alcohol Safety

Whether you’re at a large, crowded bar or drinking at a friend’s house, keep an eye on your drink at all times, and if possible, always make your own drink or watch it being made. If you ever start to feel sick or over-served, ask for help from a close friend who can get you to a safe place or medical facility. Learning these alcohol safety tips is especially important for younger students who may not have been exposed to alcohol before college.

2. Security Ensures Safety

Don’t leave your belongings out in the open or unattended, even if you feel you’re in a trusted environment. You never know who may be around the corner or tempted to steal when presented with an easy opportunity to take your answers to a test or pocket your new laptop or your wallet.

3. Always Be Aware

Maybe your eyes are focused on writing a text as you cross the street or your ears are occupied with headphones blaring your favorite song while you’re on a jog. When you’re distracted, you can easily become unaware of your surroundings, which could lead to a potentially dangerous situation—from theft to assault to road-related incidents. So always pay attention to your surroundings.

4. See Something. Say Something.

Bystanders have important roles in campus safety and violence prevention. Whether you overhear someone being bullied, see a suspicious person on campus or believe someone, including yourself, is in danger, don’t hesitate to say something to a friend, a professor or the police.

5. Cybersecurity

Be wary of cyber-related security threats. Think twice (or more) before sharing personal information, such as an address or Social Security number. When using communal campus computers, always sign out of your account, and never share usernames or passwords to email accounts or other systems.


While having a fun, successful school year is important for everyone, campus safety and violence prevention should always remain a priority. For more information on Student Empower, a comprehensive, up-to-date sexual violence prevention program for students, click here.

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