House parties and fart parties are a way of life for many college freshmen. Whether you rushed a Greek organization or just know someone who did, chances are you may end up at a party by your senior year. These parties can be a lot of fun, but it is important to know how to stay safe while you’re doing so.

The number one way to stay safe while in an environment you are unfamiliar with is to have a plan ahead of time. Don’t just show up at the door-go in knowing your limits. How many drinks will you have? Which friends are you going with and who do you know in the house? If you’re going to be offered a place to stay for the night, will you accept or do you plan to head home at a certain time? It may seem kind of foolish to “plan your fun” but you’ll be thankful for it when a situation is sprung on you and you already have an answer.

The second important factor in staying safe is to be familiar with the safety resources your campus has to offer. For instance, knowing how you’ll get to and from a party is very important, particularly if you plan to be drinking. My university had a bus that ran on a set schedule on campus and some off campus places, as well as a campus transit option that would pick you up when you called and take you anywhere else on campus. Knowing your campus resources can be life-saving, especially if you planned for a different ride that backs out at the last minute. You should also program your campus police number as well as the local area number, just in case.

No one wants to plan for the worst to happen at a party, but planning ahead can make your time much more enjoyable. You won’t have to worry about what might happen because you’ll be at ease knowing that no matter what happens you’ll be ready.

Campus safety should be a concern of everyone; parents, administration, and most importantly you the students.  Safety is one thing that cannot be guaranteed.  The university and university housing department will take precautions and attempt to mitigate risks and hazards. It is also the responsibility of the student to make sure they are implementing safety practices into their daily routine.  Criminals prey on the innocence and naivety of students.  Being aware of your surrounds and familiarizing yourself with these safety tips below can help you avoid unsafe situations.

  1. Program the campus police phone number into your phone. Also, add the RA on-call phone number and the front desk phone number, so they are handy in the event of an emergency.
  2. Program 3-5 people in your phone as ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts.  In an emergency situation, someone can easily identify who to call if you need help.
  3. Report all suspicious persons, vehicles and activities to campus authorities. Many universities have emergency phones installed throughout campus, do not be afraid to use the phone in an emergency.
  4. Use the “buddy system” and watch out for your neighbors.
  5. Keep your doors locked, especially whenever you find yourself alone in a apartment/room.
  6. If you see someone being victimized, get involved and notify the police.
  7. Avoid traveling alone at night. Travel with a friend, walk with crowds, or request an escort from campus police.
  8. Walk on well-lit, regular traveled walks and pathways. Avoid shortcuts and keep away from shrubbery, bushes, alleyways, or any other areas where someone could be hiding.
  9. Avoid big open areas like the athletic fields and tennis courts after dark.
  10. Do not accept rides from casual acquaintances.
  11. When walking to your vehicle or residence, have your keys ready in hand.
  12. When being dropped off by taxi or private vehicle, ask the driver to wait until you get inside.
  13. When getting out of a car, take a look around to make sure that you are not being followed.
  14. If you think you are being followed, call for help, and run to safety.  Draw as much attention to yourself if possible, by enlisting the aid of a passerby, flag down a car, or pull a fire alarm.
  15. When walking at night, look up and look around, do not wear ear buds in both ears playing loud music, and walk as quickly as possible.