Last year, we had quite a few thefts in our residence hall and towards the end of the year the thefts were getting closer and closer to my room. At one point, during finals week when everyone was on edge, my roommate mistook me for the thief when I got out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. When I tried to get back in the room, she quickly dead bolted our door and then proceeded to bang on the door to alert the surrounding rooms of the “thief’s” presence and hopefully scare me away. The banging was heard down the hall, our RA came running, and I was pretty shaken up. We laughed about it afterwards, but it was a serious threat, and she handled it perfectly, even though she scared me so much that I couldn’t go back to sleep that night.
Theft is not the only threat to campus safety. When you go to a party you need to make sure you are with friends, don’t come home with strangers, or trust them with your drink and be aware and trust when something doesn’t seem quite right. Also, if you are walking around campus after a long night of studying at the library, or coming back from a night class, you have to make sure that you are aware of your surroundings.
I always feel relatively safe, and it is not just because American University is in a wealthy neighborhood, near Homeland Security, and the Japanese Embassy. Feeling safe is also because there are blue poles all around campus that you can call for help on, and at night I am especially aware of where they are. I also have the number for Public Safety programmed into my phone, just in case.
There can be danger anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to be fearful at all times. Learn as much as you can and have fun during your free time. Just make sure that you make the right decisions and stay aware of possible dangers.
Shannon E. Cook, AWP Intern
September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM) and over 100 colleges nationwide are participating in Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign.