Are you going to that party tonight with your new college friends? Great, you should! It’s part of the college experience, and why not? You’ve studied so hard for that exam, so you deserve a little fun. But before you go out, you need to be aware of dangerous places as well as dangerous people you may encounter on campus. You might not realize it, but college campus safety is a really big issue.  The good news is that most colleges want their students to be safe around campus and give them phone numbers of who to call when danger approaches. Here are some ways of staying safe this year and the rest of the years to come.

Get familiar with all the safety offerings at your school: Find out about safe rides and campus emergency phones; these are pretty much what most college campuses have today.

Stay connected: In your new student orientation, your school staff members should have advised you about sending your email address to their website for emergency notifications. It’s important that you’re signed up to their system so you can receive a text or email if something dangerous was to happen around campus.

Create a buddy system: NEVER (and I mean never) walk around campus by yourself. This is especially important at night. It’s easy to become so comfortable with the campus and students that you let your guard down, so bring a friend (or a whole group of friends) with you for the walk back to the dorms from that party down the street. Some campuses even have services where campus security members will walk you back to your room and make sure you get to bed at night without harm.

Be aware of off-campus safety, too: Similar to how you take safety precautions on campus, apply them off-campus as well. Ask a friend to walk with you, keep the door of your dorm room locked, and when you’re on public transportation, don’t be too friendly with those around you.

Be smart and aware of your surroundings: If you’re going to that famous party all your friends keep raving about, go together. If you’re underage, really consider not drinking because your consequence can be severe if you get caught. If a guy wants to “get to know you better” but you’re not ready or comfortable to be in that position, be confident enough to tell him “no.” Even if you consider your campus the safest, avoid putting yourself in any risky situations.

How do you stay safe on campus?