College is a time of unprecedented freedom and independence. Parents won’t enforce a curfew, and a student’s social life explodes exponentially. As the saying goes, “With freedom comes responsibility.” Here are some tips for being responsible for yourself and others:
- Do not accept a drink from anyone—ever. If someone offers to buy you a drink, make sure you watch the glass from the moment it leaves the bartender/server’s hand until it reaches yours.
- Consider purchasing some drink-test strips to make sure that your beverage hasn’t been contaminated in any way.
- Let friends know where you are going, who you will be with, and when you plan to return.
- Consider enabling an app like Life 360, so friends can track your whereabouts.
- If you hire an Uber or a Lyft, make sure the driver/vehicle matches your request and take a pic of the license plate to text to your friends.
- Always go out with a friend or two, and never leave them behind.
- If you see someone who appears to be intoxicated and losing control, or, worse, being taken advantage of by someone else, try to insert yourself by redirecting conversation, offering a ride, or alerting a bouncer, bartender, server to the situation.
- Locate emergency system areas on campus.
- Some campuses have safety apps (the U of New Mexico has LoboGuardian, for example)—use them.
- Protect your privacy on social media.
- Trust your intuition and follow your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
If you, or anyone you know, is the victim of violent crime or sexual assault, don’t hesitate to report the offense to both campus and local authorities. Know your campus resources for counseling and/or contact free crisis helplines for support and assistance.