In a matter of days, quiet college campuses across Vermont will be filled with students once again.
"The influx on Friday, which is when all of our first-year students arrive, will be a big, cheerful, happy event," said Ashley Mikell with Champlain College.
It's also an event that has Champlain College officials reminding new and returning students about campus safety. "We tell them that they shouldn't prop the door open for their friends, that they should make sure the door closes behind them, that if they live on the first floor they should keep their windows closed at night," Mikell said.
Gary Margolis is the former chief of police at UVM. He works as a campus security consultant for colleges and universities across the country. Margolis is stressing five safety tips for students as they head back to class. He says students should take advantage of campus security escorts and crime prevention training, enroll in your school's emergency notification system, and read the college's annual security report.
"It is as important as understanding the registrars process for what classes you're going to be in and as important as understanding what residence hall you're going to live in, or if you're living off campus, what that process is -- that's critical," Margolis said.
Margolis also said that if students see something unusual or dangerous they should speak up, and they should safeguard themselves from a false sense of security by familiarizing themselves with their surroundings.
"Many schools that students are living off campus will have orientation for the neighborhoods around the university or the college of where they would be living and it's important that students avail themselves to those services and become familiar with those services," he said.
The team at Champlain says their students regularly report feeling safe on campus, but that it's not an excuse to get too comfortable. "At the same time, I think that can be a bit of a false sense of security and we want students to use common sense all the time," Ashley Mikell said.
A simple reminder that could make a big difference.
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