14 Jun Safety on College Campuses
Being a Stakeholder in Your Safety and Security
We felt it was important to present this guest blog by Roger Aldrich Chief Communications Officer and Principal at The Center for Personal Protection & Safety about safety on college campuses. Please share with other parents and college-bound teens.
The Center for Personal Protection and Safety (CPPS) is the leading developer and provider of scalable training and consulting solutions in the U.S. for Workplace Violence Prevention, Active Shooter Response, and High Risk Travel. CPPS has touched the lives of millions. Its clients include more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies, 1,600-plus colleges and universities nation-wide, 1,500-plus hospitals, and numerous U.S. Agencies.
Every year, young men and women, along with their parents, agonize over which college or university to attend after high school graduation. They worry about all the expenses, what major to choose, where to live, etc.
One area that is consistently overlooked, however, is maintaining ones safety and security while pursuing their lifes career. Safety and security have always been someone else’s concern, like mom and dad, school resource officers and the police.
Attending College Requires a Change in Ones’ Mindset
Attending college requires a change in mindset, especially when it comes to being safe and secure. Probably the biggest challenge for college freshmen is developing what is called situational awareness. Well define it as maintaining an awareness of your surroundings, understanding potential dangers and response options. It begins with research. In which city or town is your college located? Is the college an urban or rural campus? What is its criminal history? What are the historically unsafe areas in town, as well as on campus? How does the city relate to the university and its students?
Answers to these questions will begin to paint a picture of the areas living environment. Many colleges require freshmen to live in recognized living groups, such as dormitories or fraternities/sororities. However, apartment living is the norm at many colleges, and this is where situational awareness really becomes important. Young men, and especially young women, need to develop and adopt an ability to scan their surroundings regularly. This action is made more difficult with smart phones, IPads, tablets, etc. So many of us are buried in a device sending a text, reading an email or talking on the phone, which results in lack of awareness of where we are and what situations may be developing around us.
Develop and Practice Situational Awareness
Developing and practicing situational awareness in a new environment, like college, is analogous to learning how to drive a car. Brand new drivers, at first, are all consumed by the instrument panel, the steering wheel, the gas pedal and brake. They quickly learn that they must look beyond their car and constantly assess the road in front of them for other cars, side streets, pedestrians, etc., allowing them the time to respond to potential dangers.
Similarly, new college students, especially if alone, must learn to assess their surroundings when leaving their residence, lecture hall, dining facility, automobile, etc. They need to become mindful, but not fearful or paranoid. They must be able to ask themselves, Do I see anything around me that feels wrong or makes me uneasy? If so, they should not leave their current safe area. Traveling with others is always safer. If alone, walk confidently, like you know what youre doing and where youre going. Avoid appearing fearful or timid. Be prepared. Know emergency phone numbers and have safe places in mind where you can go if you feel threatened.
Practicing situational awareness and being prepared for possible dangers is like making sure you have a spare tire in the trunk of your car. When a flat tire occurs, nothing takes the place of having a spare.
Researching and understanding potential dangers in a new environment, like college, coupled with practicing situational awareness, prepares you to be a mindful stakeholder in your own safety and security, ready to enjoy and succeed in the college experience.