In high school, when you went on all of your college visits trying to find the school of your dreams, there was undoubtedly a parent – or two, or three – who asked question after question about the security and safety on campus. And most likely, you rolled your eyes, thinking that there was no way that you would ever need to use this information. I know I did. I was wrong.

As students at UR, we should all be aware that the campus is not closed, and we are not immune to the outside world. It is important not to fall complacent and to pay attention to our surroundings and look out for ourselves.I am, by no means, trying to suggest that our campus is an unsafe place to live. I truly believe that our University works hard to provide the most secure environment possible, and Security works hard to protect us. However, I am suggesting that there are things that we as students should do to help the University’s efforts and make us more alert individuals for the future.

As boring as it may be to walk back from your car alone, it’s important not to talk on your cell phone when doing so. When on your cell phone, not only do you let up your guard because you’re focused on your conversation, but also you can no longer hear what’s going on around you. Also, if you’re going out alone – for example, on a run – make sure you tell someone, and tell him or her when you expect to be back. If you feel uncomfortable, carry your keys in your hand as extra protection, and never hesitate to call Security.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do, however, is follow the buddy system. When going out, go with a friend, and never leave without him or her. Make sure to keep in contact with your buddy throughout the night. Even if it sucks, go home with this buddy or stay out with this buddy. This system can literally save lives.

Also important when out, though everyone always “knows” this, is watch your drink. Never put it down, and if you do, get rid of it. Always open your own drink. Although we’ve heard this a thousand times, the theory is not always put into practice.

I know this all seems like I’m being preachy and telling you things that you already know and hear all the time, but the more you hear it, the more it can be ingrained in your mind. The old clich holds true: better safe than sorry. Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable and ask someone to change it. While we do live on a generally secure campus, it never hurts to be conscious.So, in closing, I will give you my motto: “Have fun. Be safe.”

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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