As I was browsing my Newsfeed yesterday, I came across the sad story of a young woman just barely into her college and sorority career, who had passed away. Obviously, it is a tragedy for any young person to pass, yet it strikes a certain cord for me when they belonged to a Greek organization. It makes me stop and think, “what if that happened in my chapter?” Browsing the web you can find story after story about injuries and deaths as a result of hazing, drinking, or simply negligence. The consequences can be a chilling thought that no one ever wants to consider, however, situations like this also reiterate why Risk Management policies are absolutely VITAL to follow. Not only is it important to stand by those policies set forth by your chapters and national headquarters, but it is also important to be a good brother/sister and watch out for each other by simply using common sense.
Now, I consider myself to be somewhat cautious….okay, probably OVERLY cautious person. Yes, I sleep with mace by my bed, have wooden stakes wedged in each first floor window, and walk with keys between my knuckles at night- special thanks to my parents for instilling a strong sense of paranoia in me from a young age! So I thought with school starting it would be a good time to review some tips on how to stay safe and make sure your friends are safe as well.
-Never walk home alone, or let a friend walk home alone (especially at night and/or when you’ve been drinking)
-Always keep your cell phone with you when you go out. You may not think you need it because your friends are all with you (or because your outfit doesn’t have pockets!), but things happen and you may get separated or need help.
-Check up on each other. If you notice your roommates or friends aren’t home (or wherever the should be) when you think they should be, don’t blow it off. It could be the paranoia kicking in, but where I live if someone isn’t accounted for by 8-9pm we are blowing up their phone!
-If you witness hazing or any other activity you think may be dangerous- SPEAK UP!
Never be a bystander, because if something does go wrong you will always regret not saying something. It may not make you the most popular, but if it saves someone’s life or well-being it is well worth it.
-Be aware of your surroundings. I remember as a kid my dad would constantly tell me “Walk like you have a purpose and be aware of your surroundings!” While I probably rolled my eyes most of the time, he is right. Walking like you have somewhere to be shows potential criminals that if you don’t show up, someone will notice quickly. Being aware of your surroundings will help you anticipate dangerous situations and act accordingly.
-If you want to go big- host a campus-wide self defense presentation. This would be a great way to meet new people and you may even get in a little recruiting!
-Be Smart! If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t ignore your gut. Use common sense and think things through before you act.