Physical Safety on Campus


College campuses are like towns and have many of the same kinds of issues come up as anywhere else including: accidents, fires, and even crimes. Colleges have security, police or public safety offices whose job it is to keep students safe. If you attended your school’s orientation, you probably heard from them about staying safe on campus.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe on campus:

  • Familiarize yourself with the campus. There are likely more well-travelled and more isolated spaces on campus. Talk to older students about places they avoid or times that they avoid certain places. Areas that are very isolated might be less safe at night when the campus is darker.
  • Include the campus security/emergency number in your phone speed dial. This can be handy in case of an accident, injury or crime.
  • Many campuses will provide escort services for students returning to their residence halls late at night. Find out whether your campus provides this service and how to use it.
  • Fires are among the biggest risks on campuses – especially in residence halls where there are lots of people living close together. Familiarize yourself with and follow fire safety rules and make sure you know where fire exits are in your dorm or apartment building. Fires often occur in the context of smoking, drinking or cooking and the danger is increased when someone has disabled smoke detectors. FEMA has an excellent page with information about dorm fire safety.
  • Most accidents, fights, car accidents and assaults on campus (including sexual assaults) occur in the context of drinking/partying. If you or your friends are drinking to the point where you do not have a good grasp of what is happening around you, you are more at risk of having accidents, being a victim of assault or starting fights/assaulting someone else. It is safer not just to have a non-drinking designated driver but it is also a good idea to have a friend who is not drinking to help keep others safe.
  • Drinking also results in nearly 2000 deaths each year on college campuses from accidents and alcohol poisoning. Moderation and safety is key. If you or a friend are in danger from drinking, do not hesitate to reach out for emergency help! Read here for more information.
  • Remember, your college is a community. If someone is in danger or has an accident, call campus public safety or local police. Everyone can play a valuable role in keeping your campus safe.
  • But, you should know that rates of most serious types of crimes are actually very low on college campuses. You can find out more about that here.

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