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Out of Harm's Way

Written by Shanan Glandz
12/17/2008

Blue light phones dot the campus.

Tips to keep you safe and sound on campus

From Big Ten athletics to breakthrough discoveries in science, college students make headlines all the time. Unfortunately, the news also contains embarrassing, sometimes tragic, and usually preventable accidents. When it comes to campus safety, it’s probably better to stay off the front page. One of the best ways to do that is to take advantage of Ithaca College’s Student Auxiliary Safety Patrol (SASP). Employing 30 to 40 student workers who patrol the campus in pairs every night from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. whenever the College is in session, SASP provides support to the College’s Office of Public Safety. For some safety tips, Fuse turned to Steve Gleason ’09, the executive director of SASP.

1. Go to the phones.

Blue light phones connect students directly to the Office of Public Safety.

Blue light phones connect students directly to the Office of Public Safety.

Get to know the on-campus emergency phone system. The campus is equipped with a blue light phone system -- a series of free public phones directly connected to the Office of Public Safety. These phones, which can be used in case of any emergency, are marked by bright yellow lampposts and blue lamp lights. You never know when you’ll be caught without your cell phone and need assistance.

2. Know where you’re going.

Safe traveling strategies, such as avoiding unlit or overgrown walkways, traveling in groups when you’re out late, and carrying your cell phone at all times, can maximize fun and minimize risk. Students can also request a SASP escort to walk them back to their dorm if they feel unsafe walking alone.

Relying on a network of peers can keep you from getting lost, injured, or worse, says Gleason. “The most important thing for students new to college life to do is to always have a friend or resident assistant (RA) that they can turn to. Devastating incidents have a better chance of being avoided if someone has an idea of where you are.”

3. Call for backup.

The city of Ithaca has several cab companies that run at all hours. If you’re out and your ride home has left you high and dry, Ithaca taxi dispatchers are always there to help.

“I personally have three different cab company numbers stored in my phone so that I always have that as a backup,” Gleason says. “If you have no one else to turn to, call public safety and ask for a ride,” he adds. “We’d much rather see you get home safely than have something happen to you.”

Planning ahead can keep you from having to pay for a taxi or calling public safety. Gleason says, “Go out with people you know and trust, and always have some idea as to how you’ll be getting back to your dorm. And if your plan goes awry, have someone you can call or turn to in an emergency.”

4. Moderation is key.

For some students, drinking can lead to some embarrassing stories. And while drinkingrelated incidents can seem funny and harmless, the fact is that drinking often contributes to thefts, fights, sexual assaults, and even fatalities.

If you are of legal drinking age, responsible alcohol consumption is essential to keep you safe and out of harm’s way -- even if that means having to give up the car keys or waking up your roommate because you don’t think you can make it safely to your dorm or apartment. Taking these steps is better than having the unexpected or the unthinkable happen. Gleason recalls the story of an intoxicated student who attempted to ride a broken bike that was chained to a post.

“Needless to say, the student did not stay on the bike for long and ended up with a head injury. By the time public safety officers arrived, the student had no recollection of the incident and didn’t realize the extent of the injury.” But who can you turn to if you do find yourself or someone else in a potentially dangerous situation?

When all else fails, call public safety. “People think public safety officers are looking to ruin a good time,” he continues. “But I can assure you, our primary concern is the well-being of IC students.”

Staying safe at school doesn’t have to limit your choices -- or your fun. In fact, making the right choices or helping someone else make them can save reputations and lives. According to Gleason, the best preventative measures to take to avoid college dangers are all based on common sense. “I just can’t emphasize enough how important it is for students to make responsible decisions,” he says.
 



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