Homecoming Safety Tips: How to ensure safety during the fun
By Ke-ana Williams
Tailgates, pep rallies, classic football games. Fall semester can barely get into full swing before college students and alums are looking forward to homecoming, the most iconic week of the school year. Homecoming is a week filled with events, for former and current students, that celebrate the culture of the university – past and present. Unfortunately, not everyone goes to homecoming with the purest of intentions. For example, Virginia State University’s 2017 homecoming consisted of an altercation that led to a shooting on campus, leaving many students unsure about this year’s events.
“Yes, the event that happened last year was scary, but as students there are still precautions that we can take to alleviate dangers,” explains Destiny Broadnax, Senior at VSU. “The goal is to ensure that everyone has a good time. Sometimes things happen that we have zero control over, but there’s still a way to guarantee our safety while participating in different festivities.”
While everyone looks forward to the good times, reunions, and of course, the marching bands, it’s imperative that we practice caution, think responsibly, and follow these tips to put your and others’ safety first.
- Be mindful of your surroundings.
Homecoming season means more people than usual will visit campus. Studies show that larger crowds make it easier to commit crimes, so make sure to be aware of what’s going on around you and take notice of key landmarks and street signs in the event that an incident occurs. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, but make sure you aren’t vulnerable to being a victim of crime or caught in the midst of chaos.
- Drink responsibly.
Know your limit! Being over 21 doesn’t exempt you from the overconsumption of alcohol if you ignore signs that you’ve had too many drinks. There’s nothing wrong with turning down a free drink once you’ve had enough; ignore peer pressure and fears that you’ll be labeled a “party pooper.” Not only should you watch how much you drink, but also watch what you drink. If you happen to leave your cup unattended, it’s wise to get a new one — violators wait for opportunities to spike drinks left alone.
- Stick to the buddy system.
Going out with a group is a safer route than trying to go by yourself. Having an extra set of eyes around helps you to know what’s going on at all times in the event of an emergency. The buddy system also helps each stay accountable for knowing where the group is going, where you are, and even how you’ll get back home. If possible, try to have one of your friends be a designated driver who agrees not to consume any alcohol so that you can arrive back safely after all festivities. Take a headcount before arriving to events with heavy attendance, and make sure phones are charged so you can stay in communication if any one wanders from the group.
- If you see something, say something
If you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to call for help. Even if you are unsure, alert authorities so they’ll be on standby in case trouble arises. Keep the University’s emergency contact numbers on hand, and identify the school’s outdoor safety phones that can be used in the case of an emergency. And of course, never be afraid to call 9-1-1.
- Have fun
Overall, have a great time! Homecoming is meant to be an enjoyable event for everyone. Don’t allow fear of danger to prevent you from having a memorable experience and soaking in the magic that is homecoming. Every year is a new adventure, filled with memories that’ll last a lifetime.