Q: What comes with newfound freedoms?

Many incoming freshman to the University will have flown the coup for the first time in their lives and will no longer be under the watchful eyes of their parents or other guardians for the first time.

But even with their newly established freedoms, new students still need to keep in mind the dangers that come with being on their own for the first time, as well as the steps they need to take in order to be safe on campus.

The majority of incoming students will be assigned to a residence hall where the privacy they once knew back at home will be a memory.

“The residence halls are generally open and public areas,” said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing. “The best thing to do right when a student moves into their room is to get to know the people on their floor so that they can be aware of unescorted outsiders.”

A student’s residence hall floor, Ruby said, is a community that is meant to connect people and keep them safe.

“One of the things that we hope the residents do is make sure to lock their doors whenever they leave their rooms. It seems like a very simple safety tip, but it’s one that students tend to ignore. They shouldn’t then be surprised if some of their things have walked away.”

The doors to all of the residence halls are locked from the outside from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Residents are able to gain access using their assigned icard, which also acts as a payment option for the residence dining halls, among other things.

Along with maintaining one’s possessions, a resident must take care of their own bodies and well-being.

Bethni Ruot, health educator at McKinley Health Center, said the residence halls offer good and healthy food, but residents must watch the portion sizes they consume to stay healthy.

“When there is a large variety of food to choose from in the dining halls, it can be easy for someone to eat too much,” Ruot said. “The biggest thing to watch is that they are getting their helpings of fruit, vegetables, and dairy for a given day. A good diet also goes hand-in-hand with regular exercise.”

Outside of the residence halls lies the large University campus that will be a new environment for incoming students. It is the students’ responsibility to both learn the layout of the area and make safe decisions. University Police Lt. Roy Acree said the transition from home to a university campus can be overwhelming for a student, and they must use common sense at all times.

“Don’t make yourself an easy target,” Acree said. “If you are walking around in the evening after dark, don’t be talking on your cell phone. Be aware of your surroundings and find a place to go if you sense that someone nearby doesn’t seem right. Call 9-1-1 if you have to. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”