Spring break is here for many colleges and universities across Washington. To better equip yourself with the tools for a safe spring break here are a list of preventative measures students should take to help themselves and others remain safe at school and while on vacation.
“Your actions can affect the outcome,” says Michelle Bart, president of NWCAVE. “Keeping in mind these preventative methods and intervening actions can make a difference in a potentially dangerous situation for yourself or those around you.”
Remain aware of your surroundings
In any setting, it is important to be alert and familiarize yourself with the environment you’re in so that you are not caught off guard and can develop the best plan of action in case the situation becomes unsafe.
Walk with a friend
Leaving the party? Walking across campus alone? Inviting a friend to tag along with you or asking campus security to escort you is a much safer step than going anywhere alone.
Go with people you trust
Going to a party? Plan with your friends to go to the party together, watch out for one another and leave together. As plans change it is necessary that you reach out to those you came with so that they are on the same page.
Know your limits
If you plan to drink, keep track of how many drinks you have and know your limit.
Don’t leave your drink
Recognizing if something has been added to your drink can be difficult. Keep your drink in your hand and take it with you if you step outside, use the bathroom or go anywhere. If you’ve left your drink unattended, toss it out. If you did not watch someone make your drink or the container has already been opened before you received it, don’t drink it.
Watch your friends’ back
Be aware of your friends’ behavior and keep an eye out for their drinks as well. If your friend is feeling extremely exhausted, or if they’re acting more drunk than you believe they should, it is important to leave the situation and find medical help immediately in case they’ve been drugged.
Stepping in can make all the difference if you think someone needs your help. Have others join the effort to make sure the people you’re concerned about are okay by asking them who they came with and if they need help. Interrupt a conversation or situation with a diversion such as going to the bathroom together or leaving the party for food. Don’t hesitate to call 911 or campus security as it may be the safest way to protect the person you are concerned for.
If you ever feel unsafe, uncomfortable or if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to leave. Use whatever excuse is necessary to get yourself or your friend out of a seemingly dangerous situation.
“As the break begins, it is important for students to take precautionary measures to increase safety against sexual assault wherever they are going,” says Kirk Schultz, president of Washington State University. “Campus resources and security will still be available for students’ wellbeing throughout the break.”