Staying safe on campus
May 25, 2016
The University’s campus is generally very safe. It’s extremely rare to run into any problems walking back from class or the dining hall once dusk hits. However, as they say, it’s never a good plan to walk home alone at night, even somewhere where crime is unexpected.
Because campus is so thriving and houses nearly 40,000 students plus faculty, it’s also extremely rare to find yourself walking somewhere completely alone, even late into the evening.
But on the off chance you do find yourself alone without a buddy, there’s no need to freak out: there are definitely options to guarantee your safety.
First off, there’s an expansive bus system that can take you anywhere you need to go, minimal walking required. Bus stops are located all over campus and are easy to find with or without the Mass Transit District bus app.
If there are no buses in the area, you can call SafeRides, a smaller shuttle that will pick you up and take you back to your dorm or apartment if you’re completely alone.
If you really do need to walk, though, you can. SafeWalks, which is run by the campus police department, is another free service you can call. Essentially, you call their number, tell them where you’re located, and Student Patrol officers will escort you to your destination, no matter how late it is.
In terms of being in the loop with campus occurrences, Illini-Alert is used for incidents which present an “imminent threat to life, health, or safety to the general campus population,” according to the UIPD website. These messages provide emergency information and instructions for personal protective actions.
Illini-Alert sends informative emails and text messages and posts to Facebook and Twitter. It also enables the Emergency Web Alert System for University websites.
Last April, there was a bomb threat on campus. Immediately, students received emails and texts informing them to vacate the area. While it ended up being a false threat, students were aware of the possible danger and had time to react.
While it’s no secret that students consume alcohol, freshmen are required to attend ACE IT, a workshop that provides tips and guidelines for students who choose to partake.
If a student is placed in an emergency situation related to alcohol, there are many immediate campus resources available and Residential Advisors on duty in the dorms are trained to handle worst-case scenario incidents.
Furthermore, the University also requires freshmen to attend a FYCARE (First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education) workshop.
Essentially, the workshop is an effort by the University to provide a safe community for students. FYCARE teaches incoming students important information related to sexual assault.
The workshop covers available resources on campus and within the community as well as strategies to prevent sexual assault on campus.
FYCARE also ties in with the alcohol awareness workshop, ACE IT, to discuss the role of alcohol in decision-making.
If there is a situation on campus, you can dial the campus police department by pressing the button on one of the emergency telephones. They are scattered around campus and are very accessible.
While campus is generally a pretty safe place to be, there are plenty of resources available to battle any leftover uncertainties.
Samantha is a sophomore in Media.