Book Smart. College Smart.

Book Smart. College Smart.

Starting college is an extremely exciting new chapter and as a young adult, there are many new experiences to be made. You may find yourself all packed up and ready to move into to your new “home”, but knowing how safe your new environment is crucial for you and especially for your parents and friends.

You may go to school in a secluded rural area or between the hustle and bustle of a large city, but knowing your surroundings and letting others know where you’ll be can help keep you safe.  You may feel like you know where you live and that “nothing bad can happen” but there can be bad events and bad people at any given time. If you ever find yourself in a risky situation where you don’t feel comfortable, go with your gut feeling and remove yourself before its too late.

Student housing is a great way to build connections with potential friends and your roommates. Its your home away from home and your safe-haven for when you may be feeling stressed out from classwork. Dormitories are notorious for parties, drug use, sex, and unfortunately sexual assault. It is estimated that one out of four college women will be a victim of sexual assault.  College is all about meeting new people, but don’t put yourself or a friend in a situation with a complete stranger.

Saying that “it won’t ever happen” doesn’t always mean that it won’t. Knowing your surroundings and the people you are around is extremely important. Its also important for your parents to know this as well, and what grounds your school stands on sexual assault. Parents may want to give their children space during this time and let them grow in this new college experience. While that may be the case, its also important to stay connected and be informed about what is happening.There are some events that your children may not want to share with you (parties, drinking, etc.) but hearing that they are okay and letting them know that they can talk to you is important. While being away at college you may think your a grown adult, but still keeping your parents informed is not only a good way of staying in touch, but letting them know about your where-abouts. You may feel like a child doing so, but remember that they only care about you and want you to be safe at that party or club.

Your safety is extremely important, and although you may want to make new friends, always travel in groups. If you know that you or your friends are going to be out late, make sure to always leave with each other and to keep a headcount.  Another way to keep connected to your friends on a night out is using the share location option on an iPhone. You can control how long you’d like to share your location and with who’d you like to share it with. Having this feature on may help letting your friends know that you’re okay.

Living away at school is a lot of fun but maintaining your safety is extremely important. Be sure to get to know your surroundings and to let others know of your whereabouts.

Back to School Safety Awareness Tips by Karly Sacco

Back to School Safety Awareness Tips by Karly Sacco

leaves on the grassIt is important that when discussing matters as serious as issues surrounding campus sexual assault, that not only the students are informed, but the families of the students are well aware of what is being talked about at their child’s school. Let’s take a look at some ways school’s can get the message of sexual assault awareness across to parents.
1-Host Annual Awareness Fundraisers. The sad reality of it is that the chances are you know someone or know of someone who has been impacted by sexual assault. In order to inform parents on the issues as well, an annual fundraiser to help raise awareness including a run, raffles, and other interactive events can help bring out more parents to get involved and get educated on the topic.

2- For Parents Who Live Close- Weekly Board Meetings.
It is important to get parents as educated as possible on this topic. Students should not be alone if something were to happen to them. Create a parent only board that discusses ways to prevent sexual assaults from happening to their children on college campuses. They can even go traveling in their local areas to talk to other parents about how they can be more aware and how to help their children feel comfortable when discussing these certain subjects.

3-Create an open relationship between Parent and Child.
Sometimes, it is up to the parent to let their child know that they will be there for them no matter what. No matter how far away they are. School’s can help inform parents about campus sexual assaults. But it is up to the parent if they want to choose to listen to the information being presented to them. If the child creates an open relationship with their parent and lets them into their school life, then it will be easier for the school to keep the parent updated if anything happens to their student.

These are just a few ideas of how college campuses can keep parents updated on sexual assault prevention.

Karly

 

Do You Know Your School? by blogger Rhaina

Do You Know Your School? by blogger Rhaina

When you’re choosing a college, you look at every aspect of the school to make sure that it has everything you want: your Dream School. Most people want nice dorms, cool campus hangouts, a variety of dining options, and of course, beautiful grounds. However, a lot of students, and even their parents, don’t take the safety of the campus into consideration. Maybe your dream school is surrounded by rolling hills in a rural area where nothing big ever happens, or maybe it’s towering above beautiful mansions in an affluent, quiet neighborhood. Maybe it’s in a big city with a high crime rate, or in a bustling small town miles where everyone knows everyone and it’s possible to get anywhere you want to on foot. No matter where your school is located or how well you think you know it, it’s important to make sure you have all the information about it—including what kind of crime happens on campus, how often it happens, how the school responds to it, and what to do if you are a victim. It can be scary or uncomfortable to think about crimes occurring at any school, especially the one you’re going to, but it’s necessary. The family of Jeanne Clery have dedicated their lives to convincing people of this.

The Jeanne Clery Act was created after Jeanne, a freshman at Lehigh University, was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986. Jeanne’s parents felt that lax safety standards and under-reporting of on-campus crimes contributed to Jeanne’s death, so they lobbied Congress to create the Clery Act—which requires schools to publish their security policies, publish a crime report each year, and have a warning system in place to alert students to dangers on campus. Schools who are not in compliance with the Clery Act can be fined by the federal government, and their administration may even face termination of employment. The Clery Act not only demands that schools give parents of college students the answers they deserve, but it helps the parents know which important questions to ask in the first place.

The Clery Act contains numbers for crimes such as robbery and motor vehicle theft, but the one that is most common, and one that Jeanne’s parents are most passionate about preventing, is sexual assault. Sexual assault on college campuses has been described as an “epidemic.” It is estimated that one in four women of college age will be victims of sexual assault, and statistics show that the rate of assault on campuses around the country is much higher than the rate for the average population in a normal residential area. Some schools, at risk of violating the Clery Act, may choose to downplay or under-report on-campus assaults because they don’t want bad publicity, which is why it’s so important for parents and students to do some thorough investigation before committing to a college.

If you are a parent researching schools with your child, be sure to view the crime report for each school, and look at their campus security organization’s crime policies. You can also look for organizations on campus such as counseling services or sexual assault prevention teams, and ask someone who works for those organizations to give you an overview of the services they provide and their personal assessment of the campus safety measures. If a crime report is not offered in a student handbook or orientation pamphlet, it can be found online at ope.ed.gov/security/ (the U.S. Office of Postsecondary Education’s website). You are entitled to receive all of the information and answers that you ask for. There is more to a school than its dining halls, newly constructed dorms, and historical classroom buildings—knowledge is power, so make sure you know your facts as well as you know your campus.